By Matthew Scheidel
Grand Rapids Community College sophomore Ally German is a star on the volleyball court, but before this season started, she almost called it quits.
German, 19, of Muskegon, first started playing volleyball when she was in seventh grade. She received many accolades for her play and that has continued at the collegiate level.
“In high school, I was all-state two years in a row,” German said. “Last year, I was first team freshman all-conference as well as regular first team all-conference.”
German chose GRCC because she knew that they had an outstanding volleyball program, but there were also other factors.
“I knew I wanted to play volleyball after high school,” German said. “I didn’t want to attend a four-year school because I didn’t know what I wanted to do academically. I knew GRCC had a great volleyball program so that’s why I’m here.”
Things haven’t always been so great for German despite her athletic accolades. During her junior year of high school, she suffered a serious knee injury.
“I have a cartilage deficiency, which means I don’t have enough cartilage in my kneecap,” German said. “I had surgery on it once, but it didn’t work. I haven’t had time for surgery since.”
German said the injury, which is chronic, made the decision to return for her sophomore season a rather difficult one.
“It was really hard to decide whether or not I would come back,” German said. “But I wanted to try one more year so I could get some closure. As long as I’m happy with my performance, I think I can achieve that. I also owe it to my teammates.”
GRCC Athletic Director Bill Firn recognizes that German plays a key role in the team’s pursuit of a national title.
“She has a lot to do with it,” Firn said. “I’ve been impressed with her ability to fight through adversity, considering her injury history. There was a time where we weren’t sure if she could come back for her sophomore season. Our outlook on the season changed a lot when we found out she was coming back.”
German said that despite her injury, she is ready to help lead the team on a national title run.
“I think I can lead the team very well,” she said. “I always try to swing momentum. A big block usually lights a fire in my teammates. If one person is doing well, it will usually inspire the other. It usually works in that kind of way.”
Although German is focused on volleyball and academics, she likes to do a variety of things, like fishing and relaxing with those close to her.
“Obviously volleyball takes up most of my time,” German said. “But in my free time I like to go fishing with my boyfriend and my friends. I’m also addicted to YouTube. It’s like the new TV now. I also like to go swimming.”
German has a close relationship with her high school volleyball coach from her days at Muskegon High School and is grateful for her help along the way.
“Nicole Bayle, my high school coach, helps me get through everything,” said German. “I still text her every once in awhile.”
German finished by thanking the people who raised her and recognized the role they played in her development.
“I can’t leave out my parents either. They’ve also been a big help,” German said.