Photo By Hillary Ehlen
It’s no surprise to hear Allie Mauch say she owes much of her success to her hometown. She looks to the figures, coaches and family that guided her through her prep school years. Because of those people, Mauch made her way to the top level of collegiate volleyball at North Dakota State. Mauch knows she would not be in Fargo if not for those proud people in Barney and Wyndmere, North Dakota. Now, she feels it is her time to give back.
Growing up in Barney, North Dakota, a town of 52 people, Mauch, like many students in small-town North Dakota, was forced to commute for school and sports. However, she did not have to look far, attending school in nearby Wyndmere. The town of 429 North Dakotans lies just 10 miles to the west of Barney. A short trip indeed.
The primary quality Mauch sees in her hometown is the work ethic of the community. She feels that work ethic has carried over into her time at North Dakota State. “Wyndmere is a community of hard work,” she said. “The school, both in academics and sports, they work their butts off. It’s one of the top schools in the state in academics and I pride myself on their hard work.”
In athletics, Wyndmere is a co-op alongside Lidgerwood in volleyball and basketball, the two sports Mauch played in high school. It was clear early on that Mauch was destined to succeed in volleyball, despite being a two-time all-region performer in basketball. She was a two-time all-region and all-conference selection in volleyball. Mauch also amassed more than 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in her career. Outside of high school volleyball, Mauch was a member of two Junior Olympic teams with her 16-under team winning the 2015 national tournament.
Safe to say, Mauch had Division I aspirations in mind. Yet, being from such a small school in North Dakota can have its drawbacks in the eyes of college coaches. Lucky for North Dakota State volleyball, they did not ascribe to such a misnomer. “Sometimes you hear ‘oh they’re from a town of only 12 kids in their class, they can’t do much’,” Mauch said. “Size really doesn’t matter when it comes to sports. You can have all the talent in the world, but having the work ethic is what’s important.”
“Size really doesn’t matter when it comes to sports. You can have all the talent in the world, but having the work ethic is what’s important.” – Allie Mauch
When describing her town and what it’s like growing up in a small area of the state, Mauch was quick to respond from an athletics lens. “Just the feeling of going to a night game, 7 o’clock, Thursday night or Tuesday night game and the small town pride that’s brought into the gym,” she said. “It’s unlike any other feeling and even going to the Class B tournaments, whether it’s boys or girls basketball, girls volleyball, anything, it’s just electric. I’ve never felt anything like it.”
What is that? How would one describe it? For many North Dakotans who grow up in larger pockets of the state, the idea of small-town pride seems foreign. Allie Mauch views it as something you can’t truly describe. Yet, she best defined it through her own life, where she suits up each game as a Bison for the people of Barney and Wyndmere. “I feel the pride is in my heart and how much my community has done for me,” she said. “Being able to play for my community. It’s just giving back, that feels good.”
Giving back is another barometer of success for Mauch. She credits her high school coaches, who were instrumental in getting her to NDSU for making her a better player and person. Now, she feels it is her turn to return the favor with her play on the court. “Wyndmere got me to where I am now and just the coaches I’ve had in Wyndmere or JOs all throughout high school that got me to where I am now,” Mauch said. “The morals they have instilled in me, I hope to carry on the rest of my life.”
Mauch has indeed given back in a short career in Fargo. Just a sophomore now, Mauch made an immediate impact for Jen Lopez and the Bison volleyball team. She played in all 28 matches as a true freshman, finishing the year with 162 kills, 69 blocks and 55 digs. Mauch’s kill and block numbers that season was good for third and second best on the roster, respectively.
She followed her phenomenal freshman campaign with another strong season this past fall. Mauch ended the season with an impressive 290 kills, 78 digs and 52 blocks. That kill mark was best on the Bison roster by a 41-kill margin. Perhaps most importantly, the Bison defeated Omaha in the first round of the Summit League Tournament. NDSU came in as a six seed, with Omaha being the three seed. With their upset over the Mavericks, the Bison became the first six seed to upset a three seed in Summit League history.
While having that upset in their back pocket is impressive, Bison volleyball wants more in 2019. With almost their entire team returning next season, NDSU looks to have as formidable a roster as any across the Summit League. That excites Mauch and the rest of the young Bison. However, this offseason remains crucial for player development.
“The most exciting thing for me is the chemistry we have on our team. We’re not just teammates, we’re friends and at the same time in practice, we can be enemies and really get on each other, but it’s always for the best. Abbi [Klos] is always pushing us whether that’s on the court or off the court whether that be in academics, volunteering in the community, she’s always pushing us to be our best,” Mauch said. “That’s something a lot of players, not just Abbi, have brought onto themselves this year in leadership roles. That’s really important on a team if you want to get where you want to go. Being able to hop on board the ship, everybody’s got to be on it to get where you want to go which is the Summit League championship this fall.”
With that mindset and chemistry in mind, do not be surprised to see North Dakota State volleyball contending for a league title this fall. It also would not be surprising to see Allie Mauch leading the charge for the Bison. Her work ethic and hometown roots continue to show through despite being over 50 miles away from home.
In that sense, Allie Mauch is already accomplishing her goal of giving back to her community. One can only assume she’ll continue accomplishing that goal in the two years she has left on campus.
Position: Outside Hitter
Hometown: Barney, North Dakota
High School: Wyndmere High School
High School Enrollment: 104 students