SHERBURN - Martin County West head volleyball coach Mary Sussenguth has always talked with her players about following their dreams and working toward their goals.
Now, Sussenguth will act upon her own hopes and dreams as she moves on to start a master's program in school counseling at Winona State University this fall.
"When I was in college I always knew that I wanted to be in the schools with students, but I wasn't sure which path," said Sussenguth. "The counseling area interested me, but my goal was to get three years experience in teaching first to make sure that was the direction I wanted to go."
CHASING?DREAMS — Martin?County West head volleyball coach Mary Sussenguth cheers on her team from the sideline during the 2013 season. After three years at the helm of the program, Sussenguth is leaving to pursue graduate school. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
After three years of teaching Spanish and coaching the Mavericks volleyball team, she will get to start moving toward becoming a counselor.
"I could not have asked for my experience to be any other way," said Sussenguth. "The experiences I have had here are life changing, and they have helped to make me the person I am. We always say it's the MCW family, but with the players, my coaches, co-workers and students, it's really how it feels."
When Sussenguth arrived in the fall of 2011, the Mavericks were just coming off a second-place finish in the 2010 Class A state volleyball tournament.
After missing the state tournament in her first year, the Mavericks came back to earn back-to-back state appearances.
"When I first got here, I knew that Martin County West had a strong tradition for volleyball," said Sussenguth. "There were some people who said that we were rebuilding, because we had lost a lot of players from the previous year to graduation. But with a program that has as much history as MCW's, I don't think rebuilding was ever the case."
Sussenguth helped the Mavericks to an 18-10 record in her first year at the helm of the program and improved each season, going 23-12 in 2012 and finishing 27-8 in last season's campaign.
"I was able to have such athletic players right away when I came in. I could tell that they had the abilities, I just had to help them learn how my system works," said Sussenguth. "The successful coaches I have found are able to find the best way for each player to do their part for the team. Sometimes it's being energetic and excited on the bench and sometimes it's being the go-to player, but finding where everyone fits is the key to success I think."
Success has seemed to follow Sussenguth on the court. The four-year letterwinner at Minnesota State University-Moorhead helped to carry on the rich volleyball tradition for the Mavericks during her time on the sideline.
"Everything worked so well at Martin County West. The players, community and school all were so supportive of our program," said Sussenguth. "It will be hard to leave, but this was what I was hoping to be able to do someday. If I tell my players that they should follow their dreams, then I need to set that as an example in my life as well."