In most cases, it takes a great deal of time for a young athlete to develop into their own at the collegiate level. For budding sophomore star Valeria Tipiana, time was apparently unnecessary.
After finishing second on the team in digs (208) and third in kills (192) last year as only a freshman, Tipiana is already on pace to surpass both of those plateaus, as well as a few others, by season’s end.
Besides currently leading her team (prior to Wednesday night’s game) in attack percentage (.347), she is also second in kills (134), third in digs (92), and fourth in blocks (23). It is more than obvious that all of her hard work during the off-season has paid off.
“I did a lot more weight training during the summer than ever before,” said Tipiana, an outside hitter originally from Lima, Peru. “I believe it is something that has helped me most in improving my game overall this year.”
Tipiana’s smooth skills make things look easy out on the volleyball court, but there were some bumps in the road on the way to instant success. Moving to the United States straight from Peru was not an easy adjustment.
“During my freshman year, I felt uncomfortable at times because I didn’t speak English very well,” said Tipiana. “I felt like I wasn’t being very clear when I spoke it.”
Just as she did with her game, Tipiana quickly improved on her English and is now more comfortable with herself both on and off the court. Success in both of those areas has resulted in a leadership role on the team and higher expectations from her coach, Nicole Welch.
“The team now sees her as another leader,” said Welch. “She has vastly improved, and I think she has the potential and athletic ability to earn such awards as All-conference and All-region while she’s here.”
As for now, Tipiana has already been named the Big East Player of the Week for her performance at the Wichita State Tournament (August 30-31), where she also won tournament MVP. Her determination and hard work has definitely paid off on the court, but Tipiana hopes that she can also carry her success off the court as she intends to pursue a career in medicine.
“I study as much as I can when I’m not playing volleyball. I want to be a doctor of some sort when I’m all done with school,” said Tipiana.
Whether it’s academics, volleyball, or life in general, Tipiana is showing to be triumphant in every aspect. The sky is the limit for this young athlete.
Right now, Tipiana continues to be a key component on the 11-0 women’s volleyball team as it drives towards a Big East Championship. The future is uncertain for everyone, but you could be sure about one thing for this star-in-the-making: She’s the real deal.
You can reach Kevan Melchiorre at Kmm102683@aol.com.