When Ft. Loramie’s Faye Barhorst accepted a scholarship to play volleyball at UD she wanted to make a name for herself. Four years later…she’d made a name for the UD program that still stands tall. Guest writer Bucky Albers (a Ft. Loramie native) tells her story.
By Bucky Albers
DAYTON – When Faye Barhorst accepted a volleyball scholarship to the University of Dayton 15 years ago, she was determined to make a name for herself.
“I wanted to be part of the something big,” she said. “I wanted to put my name on a wall. I remember thinking about how proud I would be to show my family my name on a wall someday.”
There is little doubt that the 2003 Fort Loramie High School graduate achieved her goal. On Saturday she became a member of the prestigious UD Athletics Hall of Fame.
Her name will be among those listed on a display in the concourse of the UD Arena – right there with such luminaries as Tom Blackburn, Chuck Noll, Monk Meineke, Don Donoher, Don May, Ann Meyers, Roosevelt Chapman and others.
Having been married to Jason Barlage a few years ago, she is Faye Barlage now, and the mother of a 6-month-old daughter. She will be among the four in UD’s 2017 HOF class who will be introduced to the audience at halftime of the UD-St. Bonaventure men’s basketball game.
The others are: Brian Roberts (basketball, 2008), Erin Showalter Justice (soccer, 2004) and Walt DeAnna (former ice hockey coach).
Barlage said she was “very surprised and absolutely humbled” when she received notification of her Hall of Fame selection. “I know it’s a very elite group,” she added. “I did tear up.”
A middle blocker for the volleyball Flyers from 2003-2006, the 6-foot-3 Barlage made a strong case for her HOF selection.
She was the Atlantic 10 Conference rookie of the year in 2003 and player of the year in 2005 and 2006. She still is UD’s career leader in hitting percentage (.384), kills (1,746) and blocks (668).
She was a three-time American Volleyball Coaches Association honorable mention All-American who twice attended tryouts in Colorado Springs for the U.S. National team.
She could jump well enough to touch 10 feet, 4 inches. The top of the net is 7 feet, 4 inches. The Bowling Green coach once said her players would have to stand on a box to simulate that in practice.
After a strong performance in both basketball and volleyball at Fort Loramie, Barlage had an immediate impact at UD. Her arrival coincided with a sudden rise in UD volleyball fortunes as the Flyers won their first NCAA Tournament game in her freshman year.
“We upset Michigan State on their floor,” she recalled. “That’s when the bar was raised. In the past we couldn’t put it all together. We learned how to win and we did it.”
The UD program has been strong ever since, failing to qualify for the NCAA Championship only three times in 13 years. Prior to Barlage’s arrival, Dayton had never been in the NCAA Tournament and had won only one Atlantic 10 Tournament match in eight years.
“It was about competing at that time,” she said. “I wanted that for me. I needed to prove myself. I had eight cousins with athletic scholarships who were an inspiration.
“When I reflect on this journey now, I no longer think of myself. Instead, my mind is flooded of memories of my parents (Phil and Anne Barhorst) who enabled me in every aspect, my teammates who constantly sacrificed and didn’t receive the glory, and my coaches who truly moved me.
“My parents selflessly put their wants and needs aside to guide my dream. Every weekend. Every sport. No questions asked. My dad has natural leadership qualities. He’s not afraid to push the status quo, to be bold. He’s always been involved in our community. My mom is a rock and works around the clock. She often reminded me when things aren’t going your way, when you’re not getting the results you want — the answer is to work harder.”
Barlage said her teammates deserve much of the credit for the success she’s had. “I didn’t serve, I didn’t pass, I didn’t receive serves and I put pressure on my teammates who did,” she said. “I only played three of six rotations. Some of my teammates didn’t get that luxury. My job was to block, to attack. I often got the glory.
“But those who know the game best know the value of the first touch of the ball – the servers, the passers, the spitfires who refuse to give up. When I think of Hall of Famers, I think of them.”
Barlage said one of her fondest memories was receiving a compliment from UD coach Tim Horsman about her work in the weight room.
“It was the summer before my last year,” she recalled. “I had trained very hard for three years, but I wasn’t naturally a strong kid. When I came to UD from high school I weighed 130 pounds soaking wet.
“I had worked so hard with the conditioning coach, Mark Thobe,” she said. “The coach (Horsman) called me after he saw some of my (weight-)lifting results. He didn’t sugar-coat things. When he gave you a compliment, you knew it was genuine.
“He said, ‘I know this program is going in the right direction because my most talented kid is my hardest-working kid.’ I never forgot that.”
Barlage lives in Minster and works in Versailles for the Midmark Corporation.