Athleticism has been a focal point for the Ferris State University women's volleyball program and the Bulldogs demonstrated that by inking Caroline Heitzman (Newaygo/Fremont) to a national letter during the November early-signing period. The announcement was made by 15th-year head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm.
Heitzman will begin her collegiate career this 2011 fall season as member of the Bulldogs.
A 6-1 outside-middle hitter, Heitzman received All-Great Lakes 8 Conference First-Team laurels in her senior year. The 2010 team captain totaled 466 kills on 987 hitting attempts for a .306% attack percentage this fall to go along with 101 service aces, 84 block solos, 45 block assists, and 97 digs in 52 matches for head coach Tressa Wenk's team. She helped the Packers to claim a district tournament championship crown and a regional runner-up finish this 2010 campaign. FHS also was crowned First Dig Invitational and Hopkins (Mich.) Invitational Championship during this recent season as well.
"Caroline is an exciting addition to the Bulldog Volleyball Family," said Brandel-Wilhelm. "She's a tough competitor and an extremely hard worker. She has a lot of potential and we look forward to the opportunity in helping her develop."
Heitzman earned first-team all-conference plaudits and all-area second-team recognition as a junior in 2009. Heitzman, who was named the 2009 team's Most Valuable Player, hammered 366 kills on 874 attack attempts for a .236 hitting percentage in 49 matches for the 2009 campaign. She also garnered 92 block solos, 74 block assists and 37 digs as the Packers posted a 29-20 overall record while placing second in the Great Lakes 8 Conference and garnering district tournament runner-up honors. In basketball, Heitzman attained first-team all-league and second-team all-area kudos as a junior this past 2009-10 season and led the Packers to a second-place conference finish.
Academically, Heitzman earned FHS Student of the Month recognition in May 2010. She is a two-year (2009 and 2010) member of the school's National Honor Society and Varsity Club chapters.
Heitzman transferred to Fremont from Newaygo (Mich.) High School at the end of her 2008-09 sophomore year. While at Newaygo, she was a member of the Lions' varsity volleyball and basketball teams in 2008-09 after playing on the junior varsity squad in both sports for the 2007-08 prep campaign. She attained 2008-09 all-conference honorable mention laurels in both volleyball and basketball at NHS.
Heitzman played for the Saint Juniors AAU Club Team in the Elite 18 Division under the guidance of coach Dave Rawles.
The daughter of Brad and Amy Hummel of Newaygo, Mich., Caroline will graduate in June 2011 and plans to study recreation leadership and management at Ferris State.
Heitzman joins middle hitter Courtney Rehm (Portage/Central) as early signees to date for the Ferris State women's volleyball program.
Ferris State concluded the 2010 season with an 18-10 overall record.