Wedding belle Foecke flies home from VNL

USA will be forced to do without outside hitter Mikaela Foecke in Conegliano next week in the FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League.

Foecke was on fire in the States’ straight-sets victory over Bulgaria on Thursday, with eight kills on 16 attacks, plus two blocks and an ace, as the US made it three wins from three in the first week of the preliminary round.

However, the recent University of Nebraska graduate is flying home to get married on June 1 to fiancé Isaac Richter and will miss the Pool 5 games against Serbia, Italy and the Dominican Republic.

Kiraly’s options

In Foecke’s absence, coach Karch Kiraly may be tempted to bring back one of the leading stars he left off the first week’s roster as they were recovering from an extended club season in Europe. Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, Jordan Larson, Kelsey Robinson or Kim Hill would fit into that category.

“Next week we face three very quality opponents in Serbia, Italy and Dominican Republic,” Kiraly said. “We will certainly be tested there a lot.

“Unfortunately, we will not be able to take Mikaela Foecke with us. We were certainly excited to do that, but she has bigger and more important things to do as she is getting married a week from Saturday.”

Libero Megan Courtney, speaking to the TeamUSA.org website, added: “This whole week has been really fun to get to know the girls on a different level other than being in the gym. They are super great, super young, they are quirky and funny. It has been really cool to get to know everybody.”

Week two of the VNL begins on Tuesday May 28 with the USA taking on Serbia at 1700 Central European Time.