Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - September 6, 2013

Palo Alto High grads finding success on the volleyball court

by Keith Peters

The 2013 women's college volleyball season is under way and members of Palo Alto High's CIF Division I state championship teams of 2010 and '11 are contributing all around the nation.

Sophomore Kimmy Whitson is a starting setter and team captain at University of the Pacific. Sophomore Melanie Wade is a starting middle blocker at Washington. Sophomore Caroline Martin is a starting outside hitter at Connecticut College. Sophomore Maddie Kuppe is a reserve at UConn. Sophomore Jackie Koenig is playing middle blocker for UC Santa Cruz and freshman Shelby Knowles is a defensive specialist for Wheaton College in Illinois.

Playing only on the 2010 team was Trina Ohms, an outside hitter at Penn; Megan Coleman, playing libero at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and Ashley Shin, a defensive specialist at Carleton College in Minnesota.

Those who helped build the foundation for the state championship teams included Ally Whitson, who finished up at UC Davis last season and is now playing in France for club TFOC; and Marissa Florant, a senior starting outside hitter at Puget Sound.

"That's an amazing amount of girls going on to play collegiate volleyball, and is evidence to just how good our pipeline of talent has been over the past 5-6 years," said Paly head coach Dave Winn, whose state title-winning teams compiled a two-year record of 77-4.

Wade opened her season this past weekend by producing 23 kills in sweeps of Boise State, Portland State and Gonzaga. She hit .692 against Boise (with no errors) and .647 against Gonzaga, and had nine block assists against PSU.

In a 3-0 sweep over visiting Seattle on Tuesday night, Wade produced six kills, four aces and hit .556 as the nationally No. 5-ranked Huskies improved to 4-0.

Whitson, meanwhile, has Pacific off to a 3-2 record after Wednesday's nonconference loss at No. 3-ranked Stanford, where she had 14 assists. Whitson had 19 assists and nine digs in a sweep of No. 14-ranked Michigan State on Saturday.

Knowles got her college career under way last weekend by producing 52 kills and 41 digs during a 1-3 finished at the Wisconsin Whitewater Invitational. She had 22 kills in a loss to Transylvania and 15 digs in an opening setback to Lawrence University.

On Tuesday at Lake Forest College, Knowles had 11 kills, two aces, five digs and hit .381 to help her team to a sweep.

Kuppe, meanwhile, is still looking for her first start of the season at UConn. The Huskies opened their season 1-2 at the IPFW Invitational. Kuppe saw action in two of the matches. She did not play Tuesday night as the Huskies swept visiting Hartford while improving to 2-2.

Martin, who had a standout freshman year at Connecticut College, opens her sophomore campaign on Saturday while Ohms does the same for Penn on Friday.

Florant helped Puget Sound, ranked No. 9 in NCAA Division III, open its season with a 3-1 finish at the Puget Sound Premier. She had 14 digs in a sweep of Whitman, added 18 kills with .486 hitting in a 3-1 win over No. 15 Wartburg; had 17 digs in a 3-0 loss to Calvin and finished with 16 kills and .289 hitting in a 3-1 win over Pacific Lutheran.

Coleman and her teammates are off to a 4-0 start after winning their own Pacific Coast Classic in Claremont over the weekend. She had 26 digs in a sweep of Whitworth, 16 digs in a sweep of Benedictine (Ill.), 20 digs in a sweep of Williamette and 16 digs in a 3-0 win over Millikin.

Shin saw action in three of four matches as Carleton went 3-1 at the St. Olaf/Carleton College Invitational. She finished with four assists and 10 digs.

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