Starter on the court, reserve off of it

Both on and off the court, University of Miami senior libero Cassie Loessberg lives and breathes volleyball—or so it seems. The Sacramento, Calif., native has another passion that the public might not be aware of: she is a reserve in the United States Marine Corps.

“I always looked up to people in uniform, and I feel like they deserve the utmost respect. I wanted to be just like that. I feel like it is my duty to serve the United States,” Loessberg said.  “I’ve never been the type of person to settle for a lower level. The Marine Corps to me is like the tip of the spear.”

Loessberg became interested in the military at an early age.

“My entire family—my uncle, my cousins—they were all involved in the military, so I’ve always been accustomed to it,” she said.

One of her uncles was a Navy Seal for eight years.

She is currently a motor vehicle operator under the Military Occupational Specialty, or MOS. The MOS is the system of categorizing career fields within the Marine Corps.

“After college, I want to become a fighter pilot,” Loessberg said. The F35 and the F18 Hornet are her two favorites.

As a reservist, Loessberg travels once a month to Orlando for basic training. She enthusiastically described the different types of drills she must go through such as the rifle range and medical evolutions of victims.

Loessberg said that if it weren’t for her volleyball commitment to the University of Miami, she wouldn’t have gone to college and would have enlisted right after high school.

“Volleyball is a very big part of my life,” said Loessberg, who is a criminology major. As the defensive specialist, she earned Most Valuable Player honors last year as she was voted the best player by her teammates and coaches.

When asked about which volleyball achievement she was most proud of, Loessberg was humble.

“None of them really matter to me except for being the MVP. The most important thing to me are my peers.”

Head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch agrees No. 36 is driven. “Cassie’s an incredible player and she’s a great leader. She made a commitment to the team and the program.”

Last Saturday against Notre Dame, Loessberg established a new school record for most digs in a career, breaking Jamie Grass’s 1,621 digs from 2001-2004.

Despite Loessberg’s hefty workload, she handles her time wisely. “It’s the drive and the motivation to push through it, you can function off of no sleep for a while because its all mental,” she said. “When you love something so much it’s not hard to be committed and find passion in it.”

UM faces Virginia Friday at 7 p.m. at the Knight Sports Complex. The game can be heard on 90.5 FM WVUM.

Daniella Cioffi may be contact at