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A Full Plate: Mercy’s Fuller leads on and off the field

by Matthew Ondesko: Owner

Photos: Geoff Schneider:Sports Union

There is a lot that goes into being a good leader. Of course it’s important to be there for your teammates on the field, especially if things are going bad.

A leader needs to be able to read the room, and get the team ready too compete everyday - while still maintaining a sense of composure.

But, it’s not just about being a competitor on the field, and leading the team every day in practice and in games. It’s also about being a pillar in the community. Being able to show others how important it is to give back may be one of the most important things about being a solid leader.

Mount Mercy Academy senior Olivia Fuller has been a mainstay on the field, or court, for the last four years at the school. She was part of the first title winning soccer team in school history - this past fall - while also staring on the basketball and lacrosse team.

Other players look up to her for what she does on the field, and her unselfishness. This past soccer season, Fuller was thrown into the starting goalkeeper role for a team desperate to win a title. Not only did she excel at a position she never played until fall camp, but she help the Magic to the title.

“Last year, we had tied in the championship game making it feel like our job was never done,” stated Fuller. Walking into my senior year, I knew we didn’t have a goalkeeper. So, with a little push from my coach and teammates, I decided to step into that role. Not only was this team the first team in Mount Mercy history to win a championship, but it was the first team to have an undefeated league season. Winning with this team meant so much, because we have been so close every year since I was a freshman, and finally all the hard work paid off.”

There wasn’t really much time to celebrate her championship season, as basketball was right around the corner for Fuller, and much of her teammates.

It was basketball where she cut her chops. She has been one of the leaders of the Magic for the past couple of years. And while the team never reached their own expectations, that never stopped her from giving it her all every single game - night in and night out.

“Actually, I am probably known for basketball just becauseI have played it for so long, and have always stood out in a way. Because of Covid, I was not able to have a lacrosse season during my freshman year,” stated Fuller. “After my first season, I fell in love with the sport. Being able to play at the collegiate level is super exciting, and proves that all the hard work I put in paid off.”

It’s a pretty amazing story for Fuller. She never picked up a lacrosse stick until she got to high school. But, once she stepped on the lacrosse field, she was a natural. She took that leadership role to heart, and you can hear here getting after her teammates during the game.

She has a passion for the sport you just can’t teach. She wants to win, but also improve at the same time. Fredonia took notice when they were recruiting her to play for them. They liked the fiery passion Fuller has when the lights come on, and the game is on the line.

“I have played soccer and basketball since a very young age, but lacrosse gave me the opportunity to try something totally new and different,” stated Fuller. “I found that it is important to step outside of your comfort zone, because you never know what it could lead to. The other sports I play game me the tools to be able to jump to lacrosse. But, I had to practice a lot harder - because I was playing against very talented girls who had been playing way longer than I have.”

While her exploits on the field are what’s getting her noticed , Fuller has been a rock in the classroom and a pillar in the community. Sports are fun to play, but academics is what drives the bus.

At a young age, Fuller knew what the importance of academics where. She has maintained that same attitude while at Mt. Mercy.

“Ever since I was younger my mom always installed in me that school came first. It was always very important that I got my school work done, especially when I was playing both travel soccer and AAU basketball at the same time, and school sports as well,” stated Fuller. “Academics are very important to me, because I have big goals for my professional future. I always knew how important my academics were, but what really stood out to me was when college coaches were reaching out to me and mentioning how impressed they were at how well I performed academically.”

Fuller’s leadership skills also have led her to be a pillar in the community. Mt. Mercy stresses that their students be involved in the school, and in the community. Fuller has taken that to heart - as she has done a lot in the community - amassing more than 300 community service hours.

“Not only was I leader on the field and court, but also in the school community,” stated Fuller. MMA encourages all students to be involved in the school. I have had the opportunity to be a student ambassador, a member of National Honor Society, and involved in volunteering for more than 300 hours of service at Mercy events. One takeaway I have is to make the most out of every opportunity , both academically and athletically.

Even with everything that Fuller has going on, she has never changed who she is. That’s why she is a very good captain, and leader on the teams she plays for.

Fuller knows that the underclassmen look up to her for guidance if things are going wrong. She is that calming voice in the locker room when the girls needed it the most.

“Being a good captain is very important, because you are the leader on the team that the rest look to for guidance or help,” stated Fuller. For me, I believe being approachable and being well-spoken are important qualities to have. Your teammates should feel comfortable talking to you about anything, which is where trust comes in. I also think it’s important to show them it is important to have fun and make the most out of each season.”

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