The door closed unexpectedly on the gymnastics career of Ally Schuessler. The ending of one chapter, however, led to the beginning of a love for another sport.
Schuessler is a member of the Mount de Sales Academy volleyball team, a sport she began playing her sophomore year for the school after injuries, including a stress fracture in her back and a hyperextended knee, forced her to retire from competitive gymnastics.
Visiting family in Pennsylvania, she attended a volleyball game for one of her cousins and was immediately smitten by the sport.
“That’s where the interest really took hold for me,” Schuessler said. “From there I went to a summer volleyball camp, and my freshman year I was part of a rec league for volleyball.
A senior, she spent one season on junior varsity and is in her second on the varsity, helping a program that is a power in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference. The Sailors are looking for their fourth straight championship and Schuessler is an essential part of that quest.
“She’s one of the hardest working players I have on the team,” said Coach Monica Owensby. “She brings reliability, dedication and passion. She might not be the strongest player on the court, but I can depend on her to do what she needs to do to bring the team up. She’s a very consistent player.”
While her coach values her individual play and effort, Schuessler said success is grounded in the team working together as a whole.
“To be able to win a game, it’s not really based on the individual – teamwork is the main thing,” Schuessler said. “Even if the hitter hits the ball down and gets the point, you still have to look at the passer who passed the ball and setter who set the ball up so you can score. You have to rely on each other in order to win a point.”
A front row hitter who mainly plays on the outside off the court, Schuessler also scores big in the classroom.
She has a 3.05 GPA and takes a course load that includes AP Psychology, Business and Finance, and Forensic Science. She is the editor-in-chief of the student yearbook, and a senior retreat leader.
Schuessler was also responsible for organizing a school service fair, an event that was similar to a job fair but instead featured dozens of non-profit organizations that students could explore in order to earn their community service hours for graduation.
She also coordinates Mount de Sales’ Pink Shoelace Campaign which raises money and awareness for breast cancer and assists patients at St. Agnes Hospital and Mercy Medical Center. Outside of school, Schuessler is a member of St. Louis, Clarksville, where she volunteers at soup kitchens and lunches for the homeless.
Schuessler is considering Notre Dame University of Maryland, where she would play volleyball, Towson University and Salisbury University. She wants to major in early elementary education.