ANNIKA WALL, TRUMPET MANAGING EDITOR
Wartburg Volleyball has clinched the team’s second-straight American Rivers Conference (A-R-C) championship. Katie Foster ’21 has been a pivotal member of the team as the libero. Foster stepped into the role as a first year and now ranks second in Division-III NCAA total digs.
“I definitely have to credit my teammates, my coaches and my parents,” Foster said. “It’s been fun to see just how much you can improve in a season.”
Foster spent the majority of the 2018 season injured. After the libero suffered a knee injury junior year of high school, the injury reemerged in Foster’s second season at Wartburg. Foster also suffered a concussion after being struck with a kill by teammate Kylie Bildstein ’21 in practice. The libero tallied 462 digs in the 2018 season in comparison to 698 and counting this year.
Originally, Foster was not planning to play college volleyball and was committed to the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, to run track. During Foster’s senior year as a Charles City Comet, she qualified for the state track meet in the 100 and 200 meter dashes.
Both Foster’s older brother and sister went to Northwestern, but the self-proclaimed homebody wanted to remain close to family. The June prior to the 2017 volleyball season, she texted Doug Frazell, Wartburg co-head volleyball coach, and asked if there was room on the roster.
“I knew that Katie was a great volleyball player, but I had been told that she had committed to another school,” Frazell said. “So, respectfully, whenever someone has committed or verballed, I don’t recruit them. That didn’t happen, so here she came.”
At Wartburg, Foster has been named conference defensive volleyball player of the week 13 times, including five in the current season. Foster was also named Freshman of the Year during the 2017 season and an All-Conference selection last year. Now a veteran, along with Bildstein, she has been forced to make the switch from a young talent to an upperclassman leader.
“It’s kind of weird to think we’re upperclassmen this year and we’re only juniors,” Foster said. “It’s definitely been interesting because we have a lot of young players this year. I know this year, more than the past, it’s been an adjustment for people to play on the court, but it’s also fun to encourage them and be their biggest fans.”
The volleyball team has concluded the conference season with a perfect 8-0 record for the program’s fifth-straight conference championship. The Knights received a first round bye and will face off against the winner of Nebraska Wesleyan University and Coe College on Thursday, Nov. 7, at Wartburg.