Hoelscher commits to Findlay

Seth Kinker
Sports Editor

On May 5, Fort Loramie junior middle hitter Kenzie Hoelscher took to social media to announce her commitment to play volleyball for the University of Findlay. 

Hoelscher, who was named this year’s Shelby County Athletic League Player of the Year while earning First-Team honors, was a key cog in the Lady Redskins run to the state title game this past fall.

A standout basketball and volleyball player for Fort Loramie, Hoelscher remembers playing basketball with the boys in the Y league as a kid and picking up volleyball in fifth grade. 

Track used to be in the equation as well but she decided to give it up when she knew she wanted to play a sport in college. 

“I think whenever I started playing with the Dayton Lady Hoopstars  in 7th grade, I knew I wanted to play a sport in college,” said Hoelscher on when those aspirations to play collegiately began. “At that time, I thought it was basketball. Then, after my freshman year of (high school) volleyball I started to really love volleyball.” 

Although losing to eventual state champion New Bremen her freshman year, Hoelscher enjoyed the opportunity to express yourself and celebrate with teammates after a big kill or block.  

After her freshman year of volleyball, she began to play with the club volleyball program Munciana based in Indiana. 

“We knew we what we were getting and what we knew we needed to do with her to get her up to the varsity level and she was more than willing to take those steps,” said Fort Loramie volleyball head coach John Rodgers of Hoelscher coming into high school. “By the end of the season she was something to be dealt with when we played good teams. Especially in the regional finals against New Bremen, she was a force.”

“I remember distinctly asking her a question,” added Rodgers. “’You look like you’re seeing the court better?’ She told me that finally the game had slowed down to where she could see the game in front of her and understand what was going on. That was about three fourths of the way through her freshman year.”

The team went 14-13 during Hoelscher's sophomore year and she missed most of the season with a fractured vertebrae before returning in the last month. 

“That year was kind of tough for me,” said Hoelscher. “I guess that kind of drove me to want to be better, that’s why I played at Munciana. I knew it would take me to the next level and since I missed out on my sophomore year I wanted to come back even better for my junior year.” 

“She really learned what it would take strength wise and the need to get stronger and be more physical in there,” said Rodgers of her injury. “She had a real breakout season this year.”

Hoelscher told The Community Post the time away from the court made her not take any second for granted. In addition to rehabbing, Hoelscher would try and help the other middle hitter with her different point of view from the bench.

Hoelscher credits the success of the team this year to the work they put in last summer in the combined with a winning attitude from top to bottom. 

“Everyone truly wanted everyone else to do well, there was no bitterness or pettiness,” said Hoelscher. “In practices we held each other accountable. We weren’t afraid to call each other out or say, ‘hey you need to be better; this needs to be better.’ We always pushed ourselves in practice and I think that was important to the success of this year.”

It wasn’t an easy road back from her injury, Hoelscher recalls barely being able to do anything her first time at physical therapy. 

During the summer she began to work out more and play more club volleyball.

“I think that was a huge part of my success this year,” said Hoelscher of Munciana. “They made my speed of the game and footwork so much better. On top of that, we were doing our volleyball workouts and I was working out with someone and lifting. I think that all contributed to how well I did this season."

“I think I saw it from her mentally, she wanted it bad,” said Rodgers when asked if he foresaw POTY honors for Hoelscher this year. “But they’re teenagers, kids basically, you never know how that will translate to the work ethic. Are you willing to sacrifice and put the time in? She was and is, she’s not done.” 

Volleyball recruiting begins early and by the time Hoelscher began club volleyball, most girls on her team were already committed to colleges.

After talking with the coaching staff at Loramie and seeing what was important to her at the next level, Hoelscher began to reach out to a few schools. 

Findlay was one of them and they responded right way. Two days later they saw Loramie’s 3-0 win against Fairlawn on Sept. 17. 

Shortly after that, Hoelscher took a visit to the familiar campus.

“I’ve been on Findlay’s campus before, we do team camps there in the summer,” said Hoelscher. “I really liked it, I met with a professor and strength coordinator. The relationships seemed tight knit there, everyone knew each other and it reminded me of here in Loramie which I really liked.” 

Hoelscher was offered that day and verbally committed on Apr. 29. 

“I think they’re getting a great student, someone who’s driven academically,” said Rodgers when asked what Findlay was getting in Hoelscher. “As far as an athlete, a kid that won’t take no for an answer. She won’t be denied in any way shape or form. That’s the kid she is, you give her that one chance and she’ll show you the superstar she can be.”

“I think all along I wanted to be at Findlay,” said Hoelscher. “Obviously, I had a ton of time on my hands being at home. I felt like Findlay was the right fit for me.”