Ally Stachowiak embedded herself in St. Joseph Academy history with her athletic abilities.
The 5-foot, 11-inch middle blocker helped build and elevate the SJA volleyball program. She was a member of the school’s first high school team in 2016 and led the squad to its first TAPPS playoff appearance in 2018, and they followed that up with another appearance her senior year.
On June 5, Stachowiak recorded another milestone for the program as she signed to play college volleyball for Texas A&M University-Kingsville. SJA volleyball coach Dolores Olguin-Trevino said Stachowiak was “at the core of everything” the program achieved in its first five years.
“I felt several emotions the day I signed. Not only did I feel excited and happy, I felt extremely blessed,” Stachowiak said. “I feel very accomplished to be the first SJA volleyball player to advance to the collegiate level. It shows that all my hard work paid off, and I hope to inspire SJA girls that it is possible to play at the next level despite our school size.
“It also made me realize that I am so lucky to have people in my life who motivate me and want what’s best for me, because without them, none of this could’ve happened,” Stachowiak added.
One of the people who believed in Stachowiak from the start was Olguin-Trevino. With more than 30 years of coaching experience, Olguin-Trevino was chosen to bring volleyball to St. Joseph Academy, and she quickly saw Stachowiak’s potential.
“I started with her in eighth grade, and to watch her improve in her game and to raise the level for St. Joe during her five years, it’s hard to explain, but there’s just this feeling of, ‘Wow,’” Olguin-Trevino said. “I would tell her mom, ‘She’s going to go play college ball.’ At the end of her freshman year, it kind of clicked that, ‘OK, this is something I can be really good at.’ When she realized that, she really started putting more effort into the game, the practices, and started working harder and pushing herself.”
Stachowiak was a sophomore when she decided to pursue a college career. She played club volleyball with the South Texas Juniors organization, and the exposure from travel tournaments kicked off her recruitment journey. Stachowiak said she was discovered by Callaway Smith, a National Scouting Report scout, while playing at a club tournament in San Antonio, and Smith helped get her name out there.
“I received invitations from over 20 colleges from Alaska to Florida that were interested in me playing for them. It was overwhelming,” Stachowiak said.
Stachowiak wanted to remain in Texas, and the proximity to home was one of several factors in her signing with the Javelinas. She liked the coaching staff, led by Tanya Allen, and said she felt at home when she visited the campus. She has communicated with some future teammates and said she’s excited to take on the challenge of NCAA DII with them.
Olguin-Trevino thinks the 2019 All-Metro first team honoree and SJA volleyball athlete of the year will do well at the next level because of her work ethic and team-first mentality. Olguin-Trevino challenged Stachowiak to be a leader and an all-around player, and the coach said she was proud to see her answer the call and is excited to see what’s in store.
“I got really emotional (watching her sign). … I feel like a mom as you watch a kid get better and better, and then achieve this. It’s a really great feeling,” Olguin-Trevino said. “There were times when she felt she couldn’t handle the pressure (of carrying the team), but I knew she could. She paved a path for future volleyball players at St. Joseph Academy. I thank God for putting me here, for putting her in my trust, and being able to develop the program and have somebody at that caliber to lead.”