Fogle Comes Back From Injury for Pack Volleyball
Aug. 25, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. - A healthy athlete all her life, Becah Fogle never thought she would take walking for granted.
Last winter, however, she tried to navigate her crutches across NC State's brick-paved campus following reconstructive knee surgery, Fogle realized just how difficult it could be getting from class to class on just one good leg.
"It took me about 45 minutes to walk places that normally took about 20," said the senior volleyball player from Leander, Texas. "It took me about two-and-a-half months to be able to walk properly again."
Fogle injured her knee on one of the final points in the final game of a match at Wake Forest. She heard a pop, and knew immediately that she would spend the bulk of the next year recovering from a torn ACL.
At the time, the Wolfpack was 12-5 overall, and Fogle led the team in kills, points and aces. Without Fogle in the lineup and against strong competition in the ACC, the Wolfpack finished the season with just two more wins against 11 losses.
Still, it was a vast improvement under first-year coach Bryan Bunn, who guided the Wolfpack to a 14-16 overall mark and a 4-12 finish in the ACC, notching the most overall victories and conference victories since 1999.
The Wolfpack's 2011 season gets underway this weekend at the Appalachian State Invitational in Boone, N.C., starting with Friday night's game against the Mountaineers at 7 p.m. The Pack plays Charlotte on Saturday at 10 a.m. and Kennesaw State at 4:30 p.m.
For Fogle, who transferred to NC State prior to last year from Colorado to join Bunn's program, this has been a preseason like no other. She's not completely healed from her injury, with only about 90 percent of the strength in her left leg. That means she is competing with five others for the two starting outside hitter starting jobs.
After two years as a starter, first at Colorado and then NC State, this is unfamiliar territory for the senior player. But it's not necessarily a bad thing for the Wolfpack, which suffered at times last year from a lack of depth at outside hitter.
Now, with senior Luciana Shafer and a quartet of freshmen - Laura Blab, Rachel Buckley, Nicole Glass and Dariyan Hopper - Bunn has more choices at outside hitter, even though he concedes that it is primarily young depth.
That's why it's important for Fogle to return to full strength.
"It's going to take a little bit of time for her to get back in the groove, to be competitive and to play without fear," Bunn said. "With an injury like that, it takes a while to get your confidence back.
"But we fully expect her to be 100 percent here shortly and competing for a starting position."
Fogle understands that she must continue to work hard to get back to 100 percent. She also understands that she's come a long way since January, when her father and roommates had to physically help her get from place to place and from one rehab session to another.
Perhaps the most difficult thing is restoring confidence in the healing knee to make the cuts, moves and jumps she needs to make to be a starter again.
"That's the most challenging part for me is getting the confidence back so I can play like I did last year and previous years," she said. "I do feel like I'm a lot closer to where I want to be. I was able to take a strength test [on Tuesday] and I'm about 90 percent."
She notices improvements daily, and is confident that she can contribute at a high level in the three matches this weekend and next weekend when the Wolfpack hosts its own tournament at Reynolds Coliseum.
"I have high expectations for the season," Fogle said. "I want to start again. I want to do as well as I was doing last year [before the injury] and even better. It's such a good feeling to be playing volleyball right now. It's a little frustrating because my confidence is not where it has been, but I know I can get back into it and compete at the level I was at before."