Orange Lutheran senior Noah Heinicke’s path to playing high school volleyball did not start when he arrived on campus. After participating in the baseball program his freshman and sophomore years, a sport he had played since he was five years old, he made the switch as a junior from the diamond to the court.
Despite being new to the game, volleyball was a sport Heinicke had been exposed to from a young age. With a mother who was a volleyball coach, he always held a strong interest in it, and eventually, the opposite hitter made the move to join the Lancer squad.
“Part of the reason why I do sports is to stay active, but I very much enjoy sports. I like to compete,” says Heinicke, “and what I like about volleyball is how close we are on the court. After every point, we regroup and move on to the next one.”
As a senior leader, Heinicke took every opportunity to lead by example and help younger players in the program who were struggling by offering them guidance and suggestions for improvement.
“Noah has a heart of gold, and that attitude translates onto the volleyball court,” says OLu boys volleyball head coach, Henry Valiente. “He is a great team player and does not have a selfish bone in his body. He works extremely hard at practice and is very coachable. He understands instructions really well and executes them with no questions. I can always count on Noah to be consistent and to bring a positive culture to the team.”
As a newer player to the sport, Heinicke needed to navigate a steep learning curve, but he made the most of his two seasons and will miss everything about being a Lancer student athlete.
“I just enjoy it,” says Heinicke. “It makes me so happy to put on the practice shirt or jersey and go on the court and compete.”
Away from volleyball, Heinicke has found an additional passion in the form of robotics. Having been introduced to the school’s robotics team through engineering classes, the STEM Academy member has competed both for OLu and private teams in regional and state-level competitions.
Heinicke credits his interest in science and engineering to his grandfather, who passed away a few years ago. As such, the 18-year old will be attending Purdue University’s College of Engineering in the fall as he works towards a career in aerospace engineering.
“I’ve been able to reflect on how much he inspired me and sparked my curiosity for what I enjoy, which is science,” says Heinicke of his grandfather. “I never really realized it until he was gone.”
Heinicke hopes to stay active with volleyball through intramural sports, and he acknowledges that his faith as it relates to athletics has grown through his experiences at OLu.
“It’s more [about] praying for God to protect the players on the court and shield us from injury,” says Heinicke. “Keep us in the spirit of friendly competition, and whatever the outcome is, let us know that we did our best.”