Catching up with Madie Lichty
Published 9:40 am Tuesday, July 26, 2022
By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier
Many people enjoy lounging and playing games on the beach during summer vacation.
And some have benefited from playing sports on the beach.
That’s the case for Madie Lichty, who graduated from West Forsyth in December of 2019, and is now playing beach volleyball at Coastal Carolina.
After taking a gap semester in the spring of 2021, Lichty originally went to Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers.
However, she transferred after her freshman year and in January she reported to Coastal Carolina, which is in Conway, S.C., just outside of Myrtle Beach.
And through all the winding roads she has taken in the last two years, Lichty is flourishing as a beach volleyball player for the Chanticleers.
“It’s been really fun,” Lichty said. “I really love all the girls on the team, and I love the school. And I’m excited to experience the football games this season because FGCU didn’t have football.”
At West Forsyth, Lichty played both indoor and beach volleyball, but Lichty always liked beach volleyball better.
“I chose beach because I mostly liked it better than indoor,” she said. “And I stopped playing club indoor when I was 12. I only played indoor for high school. And I focused on beach for the majority of my high-school and middle-school school career.
“And I just like beach better because it’s a little more challenging. And you have to be a full, well-rounded player. There’s no positions in beach, so you have to be able to pass it and hit, and you get to touch the ball almost every single time because there is only two of you.”
Lichty, who was an outside hitter at West, also has 17-year-old twin brothers, Hayden and Nolan, who will be seniors this fall at West Forsyth, and she has a sister, Hadley, who will be in eighth-grade this fall at Clemmons Middle School. Hayden plays boys beach volleyball at West Forsyth, and Hadley also plays volleyball.
“(Nolan) is kind of the lone wolf,” Lichty said. “He’s not really into sports, which is kind of funny because we’re a sports family. He’s more artistic. He likes to draw and read.”
As a beach player, Lichty said she teamed with Clara Larue and Meghan Mutter on the two-person teams.
“For beach training you have to focus on all the skills,” Lichty said. “You have to be able to serve, you have to serve-receive, you have to pass, you have to set, you have to touch. You have to do all these things, to work on all these skills.
“Whereas indoor, you’re kind of confined to one position where you can focus on one thing.”
The more Lichty played volleyball the more she thought beach was more appealing to her.
“I felt like, in indoor you have to specialize so early,” she said. “‘I have to be a libero because you only get to pass’, or ‘Oh, I have to set, and then you don’t get to pass or hit.’ So, I just liked (beach) better.”
Even at 5-11, Lichty said she would be undersized for indoor in the college game, saying the average for a women’s outside hitter is 6-2.
“In high school, I didn’t feel undersized,” Lichty said. “But if I were to try to go play indoor in college, I would’ve been really undersized.”
Her size was only part of the reason she chose beach volleyball.
“I chose outdoor because I just liked it better, the whole game better,” Lichy said. “There’s no way I could’ve gone super-high (NCAA) D-I as an outside hitter at 5-11.”
After the fall season in 2019 at West Forsyth, Lichty elected to graduate early, finishing just before Christmas.
“I didn’t need to take any more credit hours to graduate, so I felt there wasn’t really a point,” Lichty said. “And I could focus on my beach training, and get a job, start saving some money for school.”
While most of her peers were still at West Forsyth, Lichty was preparing to go to Florida Gulf Coast.
“I was kind of ready for a new start, to go to Florida” she said.
Lichty trekked south, making the long journey to Florida before deciding to transfer in January.
“I just wanted to be a little closer to home, which is why I ended up transferring to Coastal,” she said. “And I didn’t really like the academic side of Florida Gulf Coast much.”
“It was what I describe as a commuters’ campus,” Lichty said.
At FGCU, she teamed with Emma Hansen, and they finished 17-14 overall. After completing her freshman year at FGCU, Lichty was already thinking about transferring. However, she chose to stick it out and went back for the fall of her sophomore year last August.
“I’m glad I did that,” Lichy said. “It kind of gave me some clarity, and I think I definitely needed to transfer. And that was what was best for me. I don’t really have any regrets about that just because I kind of needed to be sure that’s exactly what I wanted.”
She eventually went through all the steps to be released from FGCU and entered the NCAA transfer portal last December. In addition to Coastal Carolina, UAB, LSU, Georgia State and Santa Clara contacted Lichty about playing beach volleyball there.
Ultimately choosing Coastal Carolina hinged on one thing for Lichty – Head Coach Steve Loeswick.
“I really, really like their head coach, and the culture that they have on their team is super-awesome and supportive,” she said. “And I also had a few really good friends that were already on the team, and they spoke really highly of the school and the program.”
This past season at Coastal Carolina, Lichty had a 4.0 GPA. She initially decided to major in forensic science, but she switched to a business degree in finance to be like her dad, who works at a bank.
As for playing beach volleyball at Coastal Carolina this past spring, she played seeds 2, 3 and 4, finishing with an overall record of 17-17. Her partners were Sarah Riedell, Madison Allred, Irena Drobnjak, Natalie Honzovicova and Elena Sanchez.
“It was really fun,” Lichty said. “We have a pretty good team. And it was super-awesome to play with all these new people, and train and compete with all of them.”
Even though she likes playing with each player, Lichty does have a favorite.
“I really like playing with Sarah because she’s my best friend off the court,” she said. “So, on the court, it’s just super-fun. She’s a lefty, too, so. And we’re just like the same style player, so we complement each other really well.”
Lichty is excited to see the growth of her sport in the college ranks.
“It’s the fastest growing NCAA sport right now,” she said. “And they just expanded the tournament — the NCAA Tournament — recently. And next year, it’s going to be 16-team single elimination, which is awesome because it gives smaller programs a better shot of making that tournament, being able to upset some big names.
“But it’s just awesome seeing like the growth, especially with the youth. I come back from school and see people playing, and it’s really fun to see all of it growing and evolving.”
Before going back to Coastal Carolina next month, Lichty is helping give back to the sport that has given her so much. She helped coach at the Coastal Carolina Beach Volleyball Camp earlier this summer, and she’s also working in High Point at Beach South Volleyball, where she played club.
One added bonus — running practices at Beach South is good for Lichty’s resumé.
“I really enjoy that, so that’s something I could definitely see myself doing later,” she said.