Sports

Former prep volleyball standouts earn college honors

 

A handful of local college volleyball players have received honors at various levels, including All-American recognition following the conclusion of their regular seasons.

Palo Alto High grad Maddie Kuppe, a senior at Tufts University, led the way by being named to the NCAA Division III All-American second team. Menlo-Atherton grad Katie Doherty, a junior at Bowdoin, and Palo Alto grad Becca Raffel, a sophomore at Middlebury, received All-American honorable mention.

Kuppe, who helped Paly win two straight state titles, is the first second team selection from Tufts since 2009 and only the second player in program history to make one of the three AVCA All-America teams.

She had 17 games this season with double digit kill numbers, and nine of those she also finished with double-digit digs for the double-double. Against Williams earlier this year, Kuppe finished with a season-high 23 kills and seven digs, and then the next day against Amherst added 22 kills and 19 digs. Against regional powerhouse UMass-Boston she finished with a season-high 31 digs and added 12 kills in the win. Kuppe played 86 of the Jumbo's 89 sets this year, proving she was a true leader on the court.

"We are so incredibly proud of Maddie's hard work this season," said Tufts head coach Cora Thompson. "She has been a go-to player for us all season long and is one of the best teammates as well. She is so honored to be selected, as it is not only a tribute to her success, but the success and hard work of her teammates that have supported her on and off the court."

The Jumbos started out their season on fire this year, beating regional powerhouse Springfield, topping nationally ranked Eastern and downing conference foe and reigning NESCAC-champion Williams. Playing in an extremely competitive conference that was very close this year, the Jumbos earned the fifth seed in the conference tournament and were topped by fourth-seeded Middlebury in the quarterfinal round of the NESCAC Tournament. The Jumbos finished the season with a 17-8 record overall.

Kuppe also was named to the All-New England Women's Volleyball Association first team with Doherty and Raffel earning recognition on the second team.

The NESCAC teams also were released, with Kuppe and Raffel being named to the first team, Doherty being named Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season and Menlo-Atherton grad Ally Ostrow, a freshman at Williams, being named Rookie of the Year.

Doherty led the conference with 509 digs and 5.99 digs per set. She was also deadly behind the service line, ranking second in the conference with 46 service aces and 0.54 service aces per set. Doherty is a repeat first-team selection.

Kuppe was an All-NESCAC First Team selection for the first time in her career following second team recognition last year. The outside hitter was third among all conference players with 299 kills and fourth with 3.48 kills per set. She also scored points for the Jumbos from behind the service line, as her 42 service aces ranked sixth in the league. Kuppe finished the season with nine double-doubles.

Raffel did it all for Middlebury this season. The 2014 NESCAC Co-Rookie of the Year was second in the league with 357 kills and third with 3.80 kills per set while hitting .257. She also posted 224 digs en route to nine double-doubles to go along with 31 service aces.

Ostrow was chosen as the NESCAC Rookie of the Year. The outside hitter had been a six-rotation player for the Ephs this season. She was second on the team with 236 kills and 376 digs, and tied for third with 26 service aces.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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