Before Maddi Foutz committed to Colorado State University volleyball, she was close to signing with Division II Colorado Mesa University. After two years of playing for the Division I powerhouse, Foutz is turning in her Ram horns for bull horns with the Mavericks.
The 2017 Bayfield High School graduate made her transfer out of Fort Collins official Tuesday when Colorado Mesa University head coach Dave Fleming announced Foutz had signed with the Mavericks based in Grand Junction. She will have two years of eligibility remaining.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Colorado Mesa University,” Foutz said Wednesday in a phone interview with The Durango Herald. “I’ve been going to camps there since I was 10 years old, and I’ve known them for a really long time. It’s a beautiful campus, a really established program, and I liked that it’s close to home. It feels like a good fit, and I’m excited to play indoor and beach volleyball.”
Foutz, a 5-foot-5 libero and defensive specialist, declined to give a reason for her transfer away from Colorado State. She said she will miss her teammates and being part of a highly successful Division I program that reached the NCAA tournament in each of her two years with the program.
“It was a really special time there. I don’t regret anything and enjoyed my time at CSU while I was there,” she said.
Foutz, daughter of Mike and Terene Foutz, is very familiar with CMU. Her mother played there in the mid 1990s and shined on the floor. She was named to the All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference team in 1995 and 1996 to go along with All-RMAC academic honors those two seasons. In 1996, she was named the RMAC Scholar Athlete.
Terene coached her daughter at Bayfield High School and on Four Corners Volleyball Club. Terene still lives in Bayfield and will continue at both programs.
“It’s a wonderful surprise,” Terene said of her daughter’s transfer to her alma mater. “It’s not something you plan for, but it happened over time.
“Honestly, Colorado Mesa University has always been a top choice. We were close to committing to that program but ultimately chose Colorado State, so maybe it’s fitting that we’re going back home to Grand Junction. That’s where Maddi was born, where I played and coached and started my career. It’s a wonderful feeling to go back there.”
Playing time was never an issue for Foutz at Colorado State. The two-year All-Mountain West Conference academic award winner started all 31 matches her sophomore season. She tallied 263 digs in 112 sets. Her 31 service aces ranked second on the team. As a true freshman, she played in 32 matches with 12 starts. She totaled 178 digs and 16 aces.
A four-year varsity player at Bayfield High, Foutz brought electricity to high school matches with her willingness to sacrifice her body and give maximum effort on every point.
“We are thrilled that Maddi will be joining us this fall,” Fleming said in a news release. “We have a great relationship with Terene and have watched Maddi grow up from a 10-year-old camper to a very good (Division I) student-athlete.
“Maddi brings contagious energy to the gym and has a great knowledge and love of the game. It will be hard to keep her off the floor as a (libero or defensive specialist). With the graduation of Taylor Woods, there are big shoes to fill. Kerstin (Layman) and Emily (Tucker) have been doing a great job this spring, and Maddi will make this group better.”
Foutz had considered Durango’s Fort Lewis College, a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference rival of Colorado Mesa. She also considered Division I New Mexico State and was not concerned about losing a year of eligibility if she transferred to another D-I school.
“In our mind, we were not worried about eligibility as much as just starting a new adventure, wherever that was going to take us,” she said.
Last year, the Mavericks finished third in the RMAC with a 24-6 overall record and 15-3 mark in the RMAC before winning the RMAC tournament. CMU then beat Dixie State in the first round of the NCAA Division II regionals before a five-set loss to No. 20 Texas A&M University-Commerce in the second round.
CMU last won an RMAC regular-season championship since 2014. Though the top of the RMAC is strong, only five of 16 teams finished with a winning overall record last season.
In Grand Junction, Foutz will be reunited with former Bayfield teammate Jade Pascale. She will leave a CSU team that has former Bayfield teammate Kirstie Hillyer, who will enter her redshirt senior season in Fort Collins as a three-time All-Mountain West Conference talent and an AVCA Honorable Mention All-America player a year ago.
Foutz is excited to play in Grand Junction and be surrounded by friends and family members on a more regular basis. CMU will not visit Fort Lewis College in Durango during the 2019 season, as the Skyhawks will travel Nov. 1 to Grand Junction in the only scheduled meeting between the two teams this season.
“It’s going to mean a lot and be really cool that I get to play at my mom’s alma mater,” Foutz said. “It will be a really good feeling to put on a Mesa jersey.”