When it comes to playing college volleyball, Bethanney Foley just wanted a chance to show she has what it takes.
Montana Western is giving her that chance.
The recent Butte High graduate will join the Montana Western volleyball program this fall in Dillon. She will initially be a manager/redshirt player for the Bulldogs.
“I’m hoping by managing and playing with the team that I can prove myself,” Foley said Friday. “I’m going to work hard this summer.”
Foley, who will travel with the team during the 2018 season, received a full tuition waver to manage the volleyball team and practice as a redshirt. As a salutatorian of the Butte High Class of 2018, though, Foley finished high school with a 3.96 GPA and earned an academic full ride.
Her plan at Montana Western has been in the works since Foley went to the Bulldog volleyball camp last summer. Her parents, Amy and Dan Foley, won the spot in the camp at an auction.
Bethanney Foley made the most of that camp.
“I just walked up to the coach (Brent Lewis) and talked to him,” she said. “I was going to go to school in Dillon anyway. Playing volleyball would make it a better experience.”
Lewis told Foley he was impressed by her camp performance.
“He said I learned the offense so fast,” she said.
Foley already planned to go to Western to study elementary education.
“I want to get a degree in math and science so I’m more well-rounded when I get into the teaching world,” she said.
Living with her 7-year-old brother Emmett helped Foley decide she wanted to be an elementary teacher.
“He’s a little pistol,” she said of her brother. “He’s all over the place at the games.”
Coaching a traveling volleyball team of sixth and seventh graders the last two years cemented Foley’s teaching decision.
“It’s cool because I know they look up to me,” she said of her young players. “I’m kind of like a big sister to them.”
Foley started at setter for the Butte High Bulldogs the last two seasons. She was also pulled up to varsity for a game as a sophomore.
As a senior, the 5-7 Foley earned an Eastern AA All-Conference honorable mention.
During that time, volleyball got its hooks into Foley enough that she is certain she wants the game to be part of her life for years to come.
“I don’t think I could be a part of something and not have volleyball in it,” she said. “I know I want to coach.”
Foley said Lewis told her that nothing was guaranteed for her in Year 2 at Montana Western.
“They have like five setters, and most teams only have three,” Foley said.
Still, Foley appreciates that the coach has given her the chance to show what she can do.
“I’m going to work hard in the weight room and prove myself,” Foley said.
It is an opportunity Foley said she owes to that free pass to the Western camp.
“I went and it ended up being life-changing,” she said.