Tipiana leading the way to a return to the NCAA Tournament for women’s volleyball

The life of any student athlete is hectic, but being an international student athlete adds a completely different dimension to an already busy schedule.
Along with the pressures of the sport, there are the additional pressures of a new country, a language barrier, and a whole new lifestyle. For junior Valeria Tipiana, all of these things factor in her day-to-day life.
Tipiana came to Miami from her homeland of Lima, Peru in 2001. Tipiana, who first played volleyball in 1996, had to learn on the fly about volleyball and life. Coming from an athletic background made the transition a lot smoother.
“My parents wanted me to play
a sport because my dad was on the national basketball team for Peru and my mom was a national cyclist,” Tipiana said. “So I started playing volleyball and I just stuck with it.”
Natural athleticism is not something that can be taught or coached. Having athletic parents certainly helped her development.
“An athletic background gives her an idea of what it takes to be the best,” Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. “She had to learn a lot and has really made great strides.”
As a sophomore, Tipiana showed exactly how much she had progressed when she won the Big East Player of the Year award, the first ever Hurricane to win that award. She was also the only player in the Big East Conference to earn a unanimous selection to the All-Big East Team.
“Val leads by example,” Lantagne Welch said. “She’s a hard worker and she has made more improvements than anyone. She has the respect of everyone.”
Tipiana has emerged as the top player in the Big East Conference and she is a major asset to her team. Just having her on the court makes the Hurricanes a contender to win every game.
“When she gets a set, you know she is going to get the kill,” teammate Jamie Grass said. “She can hit the ball from anywhere and turn it into a good shot.”
Along with being a phenomenal volleyball player, Tipiana is praised for how she conducts herself off the court.
“She’s a really nice person and she’s really positive, which helps her with everything,” Grass said.
When Tipiana first moved here, she didn’t know what was going to be in store for her. Having her family along for support helped her adjust to life in the United States. Her mother has always been there for her to lend a helping hand, but Tipiana has made the adjustment mostly because she is just too nice to dislike.
“I’m just a normal person,” Tipiana said. “I am friendly to everyone and I hate having enemies.”
The women’s volleyball team keeps improving every year, and with Tipiana leading the way, there is no reason that the ‘Canes will not be able to top their Sweet 16 appearance of last season.
“Val is a key component to our success,” Lantagne Welch said. “She’s a great player and we rely heavily on her.”
With two more years still left to play college volleyball, Valeria Tipiana will try to lead the ‘Canes to their first ever National Championship. She is an integral component of her team’s success.
When asked how far the ‘Canes could go without a healthy Tipiana, there was only one appropriate response.
“I hope I never have to answer that question,” Lantagne Welch said.

September 5, 2003


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.