Fort Madison, IA- Holy Trinity Catholic has been a powerhouse for Volleyball with 14 trips to the State Tournament, which includes last year squad. There was a span of 10 seasons where the Crusaders were battling for the crown every year. But there’s only one team that can call themselves State Champions and that is the 2014 squad anchored by Mikaela Foecke Richter (then Mikaela Foecke).
There’s a laundry list of adjectives you can use to describe Foecke’s career, but the simplest one—even acting as an understatement—is tremendous. And that tremendous career resulted in a unanimous election into the Athletic Union Volleyball Hall of Fame for 2023.
Holy Trinity Catholic attended the State Tournament every year Foecke was on the team and with each year the Crusaders got one step closer to lifting the trophy. In 2011, Foecke’s freshman year was her “worst” year with 480 kills, 123 blocks, 57 aces, 78 digs, and a hitting efficiency of 0.419 (her lowest). The Crusaders were knocked out of the first round by Janesville three sets to one but ended the season with a 47-3 record.
Her sophomore season saw improvements in every statistical category besides blocks: 624 kills, 110 blocks, 61 aces, and 231 digs. This offensive improvement led Holy Trinity Catholic to the semifinals after beating Marquette Catholic in straight sets in round one, which saw Foecke set a new mark for most solo blocks in a tournament game at three. Unfortunately, Tripoli, the eventual champions, knocked the Crusaders out of the tournament.
Foecke was the last person you wanted to see on the other side of the net in her junior campaign as she compiled a season-best 145 blocks. The Crusaders looked poised for the crown after taking down Guthrie Center in round one and Gehlen Catholic in four sets in the semifinals. However, Janesville returned to spoil the fun as they won in four sets. It was another 47-win season for Head Coach Melissa Freesmeier and Mikaela Foecke; however, the greatest prize was still out of reach for the time being.
2014 was a special season. Foecke put up season-bests in kills with an otherworldly 812, aces with 170, and hitting efficiency of 0.619. Add 95 blocks and 270 digs and you have a recipe for Foecke to be named the 2014-15 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year. With a laundry list of accolades, the only one missing was State Champion. The Crusaders simply dominated as they swept Gehlen Catholic, Tripoli, and Central Lyon on their way to Holy Trinity Catholic’s first State Championship in school history. Foecke was unstoppable as she set the tournament record for kills in a match with 37 against Tripoli. 48 wins, a State Championship, Class 1A All-State Tournament Team, 2014-15 Under Armor First Team All-America honoree, and 2014-15 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year, cannot ask for a more storybook ending to a high school career.
Mikaela Foecke finished her high school career with a state record of 2,813 kills, 473 blocks, 378 aces, and 854 digs. Foecke touts a career record of 187-17 and is a two-time Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year. Additionally, she won gold at the NORCECA Women’s U20 Continental Championship. Unanimous almost doesn’t seem definitive enough for a Hall of Fame career such as this.
In case you were wondering, she was also a two-time National Champion at the collegiate level with Nebraska. She’s also a two-time NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player. She finished her Cornhusker career with 1,638 kills and 132 aces, both top ten marks in school history when she graduated. The great crescendo to her collegiate career was winning the 2018 Senior CLASS Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I volleyball who excels in four arears: classroom, community, character, and competition.
Foecke played professionally for Il Bisonte Firenze out of Florence, Italy and now works for Ecsell Sports to help teams build more successful teams.
The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place at the State High School Volleyball Championship finals at the Xtream Arena prior to the Class 1A championship match.