Libero breaks record despite hearing issue


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Photo by Noah Whittenburg |

Libero Ali Schroeter broke Rutgers’ single-season digs record last weekend at Houston. Schroeter is third in digs in the AAC.


The Rutgers volleyball team prides itself on strong ball control and an organized defense. Those factors are what make the position of libero an invaluable asset.

The libero provides a defensive specialist who organizes the defense through constant communication and leadership, making it a tough role to fill.

For sophomore libero Ali Schroeter, the job is even more strenuous because she is deaf in one ear.

Although Schroeter dealt with this her whole life, it sometimes affects her communication on the floor.  

“Sometimes it does because I can’t really hear anything on one side of the court,” Schroeter said. “So if my coaches are trying to talk to me I can’t hear them, or if my teammates are trying to communicate with me it’s hard sometimes. But they are really good about it. They help me out and yell really loud.”

Despite her obstacles the Bakersfield, Calif., native sits third in the AAC with 4.79 digs per set.

Within two matches last weekend, Schroeter collected 21 digs and now holds Rutgers’ single-season record with 474. She still has seven more games to add to that total.

After recording only 233 digs as a freshman, Schroeter’s success comes from her hard work.

“One of the things that separates Ali from being a good to a great player is her commitment level,” said head coach C.J. Werneke. “She’s all in all the time. Watching films, student of the game, no one works harder than her. No one’s a better teammate than her, and it’s a great example of what we want in our program.”

Even though Schroeter enjoys success now, it was not always that way.

Schroeter struggled somewhat when she joined the team as a freshman. In her first season, she started just four of 22 appearances as she had trouble adapting to collegiate volleyball.

Following the season, Werneke said he had a heart-to-heart with her about his expectations for next year. During the spring, her confidence grew.

“[Her story] should give every player affirmation, or hope, that, ‘hey listen, I can go from being a role player and not being a steady contributor to dedicating myself.’” Werneke said. “Change some things and make a new level of commitment and look what can happen.”

While Schroeter’s hard work certainly paid dividends, she still never thought she would break records when she joined the program. The last record Schroeter broke was back in the fourth grade when she has the fastest time in the 400-meter dash at her school, a record that still stands.

To break a record at one of the highest levels of volleyball serves as an impressive achievement.

“It feels really good,” Schroeter said. “It’s exciting — it shows that my hard work has paid off so I’m excited about it.”

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By Sean Stewart

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