Young Lady Blues look for Kopp to lead by example

Junior outside hitter Jessica Fey and junior outside hitter Jessica Kopp defend the net in a match last season.

Drew Egnoske

Jessica Kopp returns to the Lady Blues volleyball team this year and will play a decisive role in their success.  Accompanied by fellow hitter, Jessica Fey, the two will lead their team onto the court to show if they can live up to their No. 1 MIAA ranking.

If they are to be successful, Kopp will have to show that her leadership and many years of playing volleyball have allowed her to carry her team to success.  She was recently picked as a captain and head coach Chris Herron believes she has what it takes to lead the team. 

“I just trust Kopp…totally trust her,” said Herron.  “You’re gonna get her best at everything, every time.”

Fellow senior teammate, Fey, also trusts Kopp.

“She has a lot of energy all the time and brings a lot of intensity, so those are two good things to have,” said Fey.  “It’s kind of tricky for the other team because they never know what she is gonna do.”

Much of Kopp’s success on the court begins with her success in the classroom.  At Lee Summit West High School in Lee Summit, Mo., Kopp had a 4.5 GPA and graduated second in her class. At Washburn she has been on the dean’s honor roll every year and is pursuing double majors in biology and Spanish. 

“I take my academics very seriously” said Kopp.  “I’m trying to get into med school so I really have to keep my GPA up.” 

Kopp plans to attend either University of Kansas Med or University of Missouri Med after a fifth year at Washburn to finish up her second degree.

She believes that her mental toughness is just as important as her physical abilities are. 

“Volleyball is a very mental sport,” said Kopp. “You have to have a high IQ to see where the spots are on the court to place the ball.”

Last year Kopp started in 20 games while totaling 218 kills and 147 digs.  On Oct. 29 against Missouri Western, she had her first ever double-digit kill match and then repeated this act twice more in the NCAA tournament against Arkansas Tech and an eventual loss against Central Missouri the team that tied them for a share in the MIAA Championship.  Her success on the court earned her MIAA honorable mention.  She hopes to build upon that success this year and develop her role as captain. 

“I try to provide a really good example for the other girls and hopefully set the example for what a leader should be.”  said Kopp.  “If someone is down I need to help pick them up and I need to stay tough mentally.”

She believes they are ready for the challenges of the season which starts with a trip to West Palm Beach, Fla. to face Barry University in the 2012 Palm Beach Atlantic Hyatt Place Sunshine Classic on Friday, Aug. 31.  They will then travel to Bolivar, Mo. to compete in the Southwest Baptist Purple Bash.  Their first home match will be on Sept. 11, against Emporia State at 7 p.m in Lee Arena.