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The student news site of Marquette University

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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

‘She’s our glue’: Foti switched to Marquette’s primary setter while Anchante was injured

Photo by Keifer Russell
Junior right side Ella Foti (right) was Marquette’s primary setter while Yadhira Anchante (left) was injured with appendicitis.

On Oct. 19, it was believed junior setter Yadhira Anchante had the flu. The next day, it turned out Marquette volleyball’s Big East Setter of the Year had appendicitis.

The Golden Eagles now had to go on the road to play two matches without their primary setter. All eyes turned to junior primary right side and secondary setter Ella Foti.

“We got one practice in,” head coach Ryan Theis said. “The team had gotten the word after practice that it looked like Yadhi wasn’t going to be on the trip, and all of a sudden Ella, ‘You ready to roll?’ Everybody smiled and said, ‘Let’s do it.'”

In its first match without Anchante, Marquette swept Butler. The team posted a season hitting high of .447 and six players earned at least five kills.

Foti earned a career-high 26 assists in her first match as the primary setter, as well as three digs, two blocks and six kills on eight errorless attacks. Sophomore Sienna Ifill filled in for Foti on the right side and delivered for the team with .545 hitting and a career-high of 11 kills.

 “I just love to compete and love to play so that’s been really fun,” Foti said. “I’ve been very much supported by my teammates and my coaches which is always nice to have people supporting you at a time that you’re stepping into someone’s shoes which are big shoes to fill, and so I was honestly excited for the opportunity and excited that I was supported how I was.” 

From there on out, it was smooth sailing for the Golden Eagles.

They won their next four matches, sweeping their opponents in three of them. In their sweep against Xavier, Foti earned 29 assists, along with 11 digs. Against Providence, Foti put up a near triple-double recording 31 assists, 11 digs and nine kills. On the road against DePaul, she had a career high 47 assists hand-in-hand with 18 digs.

“Ella, totally selfless, she has never wavered from her commitment to the team,” Theis said. “I was actually excited to have her go out there and set and see how teammates would respond. I thought it was a fun challenge for us at a time in the year when we could use some adversity to try and overcome.”

After earning a spot on the All-Big East Freshman Team last year with 254 total kills, Foti made a position switch from setter to right side hitter during fall camp. Foti said having experience in both positions made her job easier.

“Sometimes, when hitters might not know what they need, I have that perspective,” Foti said. “I had forgotten the different strategy aspects to it, and you definitely have more responsibility as the quarterback of the team. You’re calling the plays, you’re making the decisions and I hadn’t done that for a while, and so that was something I had to adjust to when coming back but it was kind of like riding a bike.” 

Theis said having two players on the team who set in different styles is a good contrast to have, and one that helped Marquette navigate Anchante’s absence.

“Yadhi’s a little bit more manipulative with the ball in terms of taking chances and trying to get people with speed in positions to be successful,” Theis said. “Ella’s more of a physical presence above the net and a little bit faster and just can touch balls that maybe Yadhi can’t.” 

Anchante is a larger-than-life presence on the team, currently leading the team in assists with 697. In Marquette’s Oct. 6 sweep over then No. 15 Creighton, her 32 assists helped deliver the sweep, most of which connected with junior middle blocker Hattie Bray.

“I was trusting Yadhi, our setter. Yadhi was telling me what to do, and I was just listening to her,” Bray said. “We had a great connection, and I can credit the passers by having great passes tonight.”

While the absence of Yadhira Anchante was unpredictable, it is a credit to Marquette’s ability to rally, and the versatility of its roster to fill in big shoes. Outside hitters like senior Aubrey Hamilton and junior Jenna Reitsma provided the core needed for Marquette to succeed.

In their sweep of Xavier on Oct. 21, Foti connected with Hamilton for a match-high 14 kills, and for Reitsma on their Oct. 27 sweep over Providence, which she delivered a match-high 13 kills. The setter-hitter connection is vital, and Marquette’s versatility of roster allows for so.

Stepping into shoes like Anchante’s is no small feat, and Foti delivered for the Golden Eagles.

“She’s our glue. She does a lot of the things that we need to be successful, whether it’s back court defense, off blocker defense or block touches, she can get the ball, she’s a great athlete,” Theis said. “She is one of the huge parts of our engine that makes us go.”

Anchante returned for the Golden Eagles Nov. 5, falling to Creighton in a sweep.

This article was written by Sofie Hanrahan. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @SofieHanrahanMU.

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About the Contributors
Sofie Hanrahan
Sofie Hanrahan, Sports Reporter
Sofie Hanrahan is a first-year from Naperville, Illinois joining the Wire as a sports reporter for the 2023-2024 school year. She is studying digital media and film and media studies. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys watching soccer and movies. Sofie is looking forward to developing her writing skills and making connections in the sports community.
Keifer Russell
Keifer Russell, Staff Photographer
Keifer Russell is a junior from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin studying digital media and public relations and is a Staff Photographer of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire he enjoys rock climbing, photography (figures), as well as finding and listening to new music. He is very excited to further refine his photographic content over the next year

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