By Anthony Jones, Reporter
July 7 was a great day for America’s women sports teams. Many people know that the national soccer team won the world cup but two other female teams won international tournaments as well. One was the national softball team who made a late game rally to edge out their rival Japan to win the USA Softball International Cup. The third team was the U.S. Women’s Volleyball team, which a former Collinsville High School graduate played for.
Brazil was their foe in the FIVB finals match that the U.S. won in five sets, after a comeback.
The local talent featured in the contest was 29 year old Michelle Bartsch-Hackley. She was a starter for the first two sets and substituted in for the final two sets as well.
Michelle has earned many accolades in her playing career such as being an alternate to the U.S. Olympic Team in 2016, voted as MVP in the 2018 FIVB League, and winning gold at the 2017 Pan American Cup. In her own college playing days, she competed for the Fighting Illini and helped them place 2 in the Big Ten all four years she attended, with trips to at least the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament each year.
After her college career was over, she traveled to Puerto Rico to play professionally there. Following that year she became a coach for UC Irvine’s male team, who won the national championship in both 2012 and 2013.
Before the 2014 season started, Michelle’s agent informed her that a team in Vilsbiburg, Germany was interested in her playing for them. The team was the Rote Raben, which translates to the Red Ravens. She traveled to Germany to try out for the team and she earned a spot on the roster. The Rote Raben competed in Bundesliga, the highest league in German volleyball.
The Collinsville graduate then moved on to Dresden DSC, another team in the same league. More recently, she has played for an Italian team named Igor Gorgonzola Novara. The Italian club is home to many different international stars including another U.S. National team member in Lauren Carlini.