Ali Mass, a senior in nursing and varsity member of the women's volleyball team, is the first Gray Wolves' four-year letterwinner in the sport. Mass was a member of Lourdes inaugural team in 2010 and has seen the program grow throughout her career. In addition, the Walbridge, OH native was recently named a NAIA Scholar-Athlete.
When you arrived at Lourdes as a freshman to play volleyball, did you have any hopes or expectations coming in?
I hoped to become a part of the foundation of a successful volleyball program and to help build it from the ground up. I expected to be pushed to play at a higher level than my high school and club experiences.
You will be one of the first four-year letter winners in Gray Wolf history. What does this mean to you? How has the volleyball program grown since you arrived on campus?
It's very special to reflect back on my four years of work and dedication to the team. Having had the opportunity to be involved in the athletic program at Lourdes from the start is very special. It has been great to be a part of the successes and challenges along with, of course, growing as a teammate and person through my involvement on campus, both in athletics and other student activities.
Talk about some of your favorite moments as a member of the women's volleyball team, both on and off of the court.
My greatest moments are the lifetime friendships I have made. They help you through the difficult times and the joyous times. As a student-athlete you forge a great bond with your teammates.
I will never forget living in the apartments with my teammates, sharing our lives, food, and experiences, both positive and negative. Of course, I cherish the moments when we won matches, too! Competitiveness is a big thing with me and my family, so doing my very best to help our team win is what I am all about.
Being a nursing major is tough enough on its own, but you've done it while playing volleyball. Have Coach Greg Reitz and the nursing professors and staff been supportive to you as a student athlete?
Being a nursing major while playing any sport is quite a challenge. The hours required to be successful can be staggering. But there is a sense of pride in that accomplishment, being able to meet each roadblock or hurdle and overcome it.
Coach Reitz and Coach (Mike) Froehlich, as well as my nursing professors and staff members have done the best they can to try and accommodate me as a student-athlete. However not having our own facility hinders the flexibility for practice. They have done the best they can, though.
I feel that in the years to come, Lourdes as a whole will be capable of giving student-athletes in nursing school a schedule that fits the needs of both the student and the athlete.
Have you had any favorite classes at Lourdes?
Prior to nursing school, my favorite classes at Lourdes were Anatomy & Physiology I and II. While taking these courses, I was able to build a solid foundation for nursing school as well as delve deeper in my passion for nursing.
My third semester at Lourdes was my favorite when I took Obstetrics, Pediatrics, and Medical Surgical I. I had a great experience in all three classes due to my interest especially in Pediatric Nursing, which is what I want to go into after I graduate.
What are some of your future goals and how is Lourdes helping you to obtain them?
After graduation and once I pass my boards, I want to be a pediatric nurse. In my final semester this spring, I am hopeful to have the opportunity to see the work life of a pediatric nurse.
By May, Lourdes will have given me a solid education that will have helped prepare me for any nursing path that I choose. I am thankful for everyone who has made this possible.
What advice would you give to future Gray Wolves coming to Lourdes to participate in athletics?
You must be mentally prepared for the rigors of college athletics and college classes. It's quite a bit more challenging in every way than high school and club sports. You have to find balance and have a tremendous work ethic.
But, most importantly, you must be prepared to be a part of a family because that is what makes a program successful.
Outside of the classroom and off of the court, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In nursing school, free time doesn't exist! But I do enjoy my job at Kingston Residence of Sylvania in which I work as an STNA, as well as traveling, reading, and writing.
Do you participate in any community service activities?
Coach Reitz does a great job of getting the team out in the community by participating in Kaylee's Course race for progeria, the American Heart Association Jump Rope for Heart, as well as other various activities. As a team we spent time painting houses as well as packaging Christmas Gift bags for those less fortunate.