by Dan Ruud
It was a historic week of volleyball for the Fogarty family. Not only was Belle Plaine High School senior Haley Fogarty named to the all-conference and all-state volleyball teams, she recorded 47 kills and 61 digs in helping lead the Tigers to a fourth-place finish at this past weekend’s state tournament.
While Haley was at Xcel Energy Center Friday evening for her team’s semifinal match against top-ranked Marshall, her sister, Chelsea, was in Marshall as her Division II volleyball team, Minnesota State University, Mankato, was taking on highly-ranked Southwest Minnesota State University. Chelsea, a senior at MSU, had 15 kills against the Mustangs to move to within 23 of the school’s all-time career record with one match to play.
That final match took place a little further westward Saturday as MSU traveled to take on the University of Sioux Falls. Chelsea broke the record and then some as she smacked 26 kills to bring her career total to 1,558. Jen Jacobs (2000-03) had held the record the past decade with 1,555.
Chelsea and Haley, daughters of Paul and Laurie Fogarty of Belle Plaine, were both standout members of the BPHS varsity volleyball team from junior high through their senior years, both receiving all-conference and all-state recognition on multiple occasions. Haley’s first year overlapped Chelsea’s last year.
As she was for all of Belle Plaine’s matches, Laurie Fogarty was in the stands at Xcel Energy Center Friday evening for the Tigers’ semifinal showdown against No. 1 seed Marshall. During pre-match warm-ups, she thought about her elder daughter in Marshall and how she was closing in on MSU’s all-time career kills record, and how she wished she “could be in two places at one time.”
Laurie faced the same dilemma Saturday afternoon. Chelsea had moved to within striking distance of breaking the record but Haley was playing her final high school volleyball match (for third place) with the Tigers at Xcel, which is hundreds of miles from the University of Sioux Falls. In fact, just as Haley’s match ended, Chelsea’s was beginning. But Laurie had come prepared.
As she watched the Class 2A championship match that followed Belle Plaine’s third-place match, Laurie was getting up-to-the-minute updates (via her smartphone and the Sioux Falls website) on the progress of the match between MSU and Sioux Falls.
“I was getting play-by-play updates, and as the match went on, Chelsea kept getting closer to the record.”
By late afternoon, Laurie learned that her daughter did indeed break the record.
Not long after the match against Sioux Falls ended (a 3-1 victory for MSU), Chelsea got a text from her mom that said something on the lines of: “Yeah Chelsea. New MSU legend. So happy for you.”
Laurie said Chelsea texted back “What?”
“She didn’t know that she had broken the record,” Laurie said.
In fact, Chelsea said she didn’t know she was even that close to the record before hearing from her mom.
“I didn’t think I was close enough to get it that day,” said Chelsea, acknowledging that she did know that the possibility of getting the record soon was there because it was being written about online.
“It feels good,” said Chelsea, referring to having the record. “In the back of my mind I wanted it but I didn’t really think about it that much.”
What’s on Chelsea’s mind most this week is the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Tournament, which begins this Friday at Concordia-St. Paul. MSU, the No. 7 seed, will have a rematch against No. 2 seed Southwest Minnesota State starting at 2:30 p.m. If the Mavericks lose in the first round, they may not gain a regional playoff berth, which would bring an end to Chelsea’s collegiate volleyball career.
However, win or lose this week, MSU is far from done with having a Fogarty on the volleyball court. Haley, with her high school volleyball career behind her, will sign a letter of intent today (Wednesday) to study and play volleyball at MSU starting next fall. Laurie preceded her daughters by a couple of decades in playing volleyball at MSU.
Chelsea, who graduates from MSU this spring, recently received an internship at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato in association with her studies in exercise science and physical therapy.
When asked if there was anything else she wanted to say about last week’s happenings, the first thing Chelsea said was “Good job Belle Plaine volleyball going to state.”