|Chisago Lakesí Courtney Fautsch was rewarded for her strong play with the North Suburban Conference Player of the Year award.
BY JEFF NORTONYou'd never guess what Courtney Fautsch really is all about seeing her off the volleyball court.
Her wide smile and small frame off the court wouldn't give away Fautsch's true passion and talent. She is a hellacious volleyball player.
Only a junior on an 20-8 Chisago Lakes team, Fautsch won the North Suburban Conference Player of the Year award in 2008. The award is especially impressive since the conference is loaded with some traditionally strong volleyball programs in Spring Lake Park, Benilde-St. Margaret's and Totino-Grace.
"It really means a lot to me," Fautsch said about winning the prestigious award. "It feels really good and it's just a huge honor. I just try to work the hardest I can, and I couldn't do it without my teammates." She credited senior server Mackenzie Maher and her deft passing skills as a big reason Fautsch was able to pile up so many kills for the 'Cats.
Fautsch was the catalyst for the Wildcats' 8-2 third place finish in the NSC. She utilized her skills in big wins over Totino-Grace, Fridley and St. Francis, and also in razor-thin losses to BSM and Spring Lake Park. Both of those matches, the only two Chisago Lakes lost in the conference, both went to five sets and both could've just as easily gone the Wildcats way.
Fautsch's killer mentality and collosal power make her an ideal outside hitter, a "terminator" as her head coach, Katie Larson, says.
Fautsch began playing volleyball when she was nine years old. Her sister, Kelsey, who is seven years her elder, got her into it at a young age. "I got drug along to the gyms that Kelsey would go to, and volleyball was always around me," she said. "Once I started playing, I couldn't stop."
Courtney's accomplishments are already piling up to rival her sister's. Kelsey was a top recruit in the state of Minnesota in her graduating year of 2002 and was an All-Rum River Conference and All-State selection her senior year.
Courtney has already won two All-NSC awards, as well as the freshly minted Player of the Year award, and she has high expectations for next year's campaign.
"I want to win the same awards, plus maybe get on the All-Tournament team and the All-State squad," she said. "And I really want the team to make it to state."
In the meantime, Fautsch isn't waiting around for next year. She's been in the Mizuno-sponsored Minnesota 1 volleyball program for the past three years. The 18's team includes seven of 2008's Minnesota State Volleyball Coaches Association All-State selections. It's the top volleyball program in Minnesota, and it keeps volleyball on Fautsch's mind and allows her to sharpen her skills in the off-season. "We get to do Junior Olympics, travel to Nationals and do other qualifyers," Fautsch explained. "It's just more fast paced volleyball."
She explained that she entered the world of M1 because her sister had played on the team. M1 holds open tryouts, and when she was old enough, Fautsch tried out and made the team. She has been hooked ever since. According to Fautsch, it's the elite academy on the Minnesota volleyball volleyball scene.
Beyond next year for Fautsch, the sky is the limit. She has already expressed a desire to earn All-State honors, as well as carry her team deeper into the playoffs, but what about college and beyond for the phenom?
"I defintiley want to play in college," Fautsch said, noting she is interested in a number of schools already. "I want to go as far as I can take it in volleyball."
With her pedigree, skill set and drive, she can take her volleyball career wherever she wants.