WARSAW – The moment came almost a year ago, but Katie Voelz still gets goose bumps thinking about it.
“I still remember the last point in the fifth game,” began Voelz, who literally was rubbing her arms talking about it, trying to shake her goose bumps. “When that final ball fell and we got to 15 points, it was one of the most amazing moments of my life. My teammates were crying. They were tears of happiness.”
The moment Voelz recounted was the final point of a five-game winner for the Warsaw volleyball team over Elkhart Memorial last Aug. 23, which broke Memorial’s 76-game winning streak in the Northern Lakes Conference. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t a state title, or even a sectional championship. But that moment carried on a ton of volume for Voelz. “I just remember how proud I was. The NLC was finally in our reach. That win was really a confidence booster for us.”
Voelz, just a junior, also talked about the monumental win Warsaw had later in the season against Penn, but made no bones the 2013 season began as soon as the 2012 season ended.
“It was heartbreaking,” Voelz started, pausing for a brief moment before retelling the night Memorial got its revenge in the sectional. “I remember the ball hitting the floor. We all just fell apart. We were in the lockerroom for over an hour, completely devastated.
“I went home that night and just stared at the ceiling, crying, wondering what went wrong. It surely kept that fire burning. Trust me, we will use that feeling this year.”
Warsaw ended its stellar 2012 season at 27-6 overall and 7-0 in the NLC, the first team aside from Memorial to win a conference title since the Lady Chargers joined the league in 2001. Memorial have won six sectional titles in a row, Warsaw none since 2004. Voelz, who will play a huge role on the club this fall as a middle hitter, hasn’t seen intense summer workouts as a drag, but as the next chapter to the team’s overall story.
“We have definitely seen each other at our worst,” laughed Voelz in a lighter moment talking about the team dolling up for team photo day. “I don’t know what some of my teammates look like without being drenched in sweat and having nasty hair. Given how bad we felt after losing last year, the running and workouts are just going to help us get that much better.”
Voelz is a two-time All-NLC performer and per Warsaw head coach, Mike Howard, should be one of the top players in the area, if not the state this fall. Her goals are simple. Get farther than the team ended last October.
“I think about how devastated the seniors were at sectionals, and how bad I felt for coach Howard,” Voelz said. “I want to do this for my teammates, my coaches. This isn’t something I am doing, playing for myself. I love my team. I want people to know that I give everything I have.
“Yeah, winning is awesome. But, I still put everything out there. I want it to be different this time around.”