Jackie Kupeli

Small player big future

Maddie Dailey, Op Ed Editor

    Not all big things come in big packages.

    Standing 5’2”, senior Jackie Kupeli makes a big impact on and off the court for the Monte Vista varsity Women’s Volleyball team.  Not only is Kupeli a starting Libero and captain, but she is also committed to play Division III volleyball at NYU next year.

    Kupeli has been playing volleyball for 6 years.  She played for many top clubs through the years including NorCal, Vision, and Xeleration helping out not just as a Libero but as a Setter as well.

    “When I was first starting out, I actually hated volleyball,” Kupeli said.  “However, when I was put on a club team I realized all the friends I could make and the cool experiences I could have.”

    Former Varsity coach, JJ Utchen, has known Kupeli since she was in 6th grade and began coming to high school camps.

    “I made a point to keep an eye on her as she developed during club volleyball,” Utchen said.  “She was a tiny spark plug on every team; even at a young age it was clear she had a fire and passion for the sport.”

    Her past three seasons on varsity have been quite an accomplishment.  Her sophomore year, MV finished 1st in EBAL and NCS, her second year the team won EBAL and NCS and made it to the NorCal State Finals finishing 3rd in Division I, and this year MV has taken the EBAL title again and is fighting through NCS.

    Her life through volleyball has had some great highlights outside of high school as well though.

    “[A] highlight of my volleyball career is playing for the club Vision,” she explained.  “I was exposed to a level of play that I thought was out of my league. Playing with girls committed to Pac 12 schools was so amazing and I definitely became a much better player.”

    Vision typically plays in top qualifiers and college recruiting tournaments and many teams finish among the top 20 of their age group in the country.

    Kupeli has used her background well and stands tall this year as a senior captain on varsity and it could not be a better fit.

    “It’s fun to see her step into a leadership role like this,” Utchen said.  “She leads by example, always working hard and chasing balls.”

    But her successful career has yet to come to an end.

    “Thinking about going to NYU is so exciting to me,” Kupeli said.  “My trip there made me realize that I can’t imagine myself going anywhere else. The girls on the team are amazing and the coach will be like my second mom.”

    She emphasized that there is no real campus at NYU; you have to walk through the city to get to your classes and to get to games you have to take the subway.  Although originally Kupeli was unsure about this change, she has completely warmed up to idea of it becoming her new home.

    “I visited NYU this summer to make sure the neighborhood was safe for her,” Utchen shared.  “I loved it.  Since she’s a student of the game, she’ll transition smoothly.  They are lucky to have her.”