Varsity volleyball welcomes freshman Vivian Kieffer

Rory Dungan, Writer

While still navigating the new world of high school, freshman Vivian Kieffer moved up to the “big leagues” on the varsity volleyball team.

In preparation for tryouts, Kieffer said she not only practiced multiple times a week with her club volleyball team, but also attended private sessions and did speed and agility training.

During the school season, Kieffer practices 10-12 hours a week.

“I’m up late until 12 a.m. doing homework, so I usually don’t get much sleep,” Kieffer said. “A lot of the time I can’t hang out with my friends because I have practice or a game.”

Kieffer plays libero, a defensive specialist position, meaning that she only plays in the back row. She wears a jersey that contrasts with the rest of her teammates, dives for any balls spiked her way and keeps the ball in control. The libero is responsible for a much larger portion of the court than the rest of the teammates. She plays the maximum amount of time possible for a libero each game, an honor that varsity head coach Susan Specht said is a big deal for a freshman.

Specht attributes Kieffer’s placement on varsity not only to the way she plays the sport, but to her overall attitude.

“She is very consistent,” Specht said. “It is evident in the way she plays that she loves the game and she wants to win for her teammates. We knew that she would make an immediate impact on our team, and she has.”

Sophomore Reanne DeBose, an outside hitter, said she was not expecting Kieffer to have the personality she has.

“She is so fun to be around,” DeBose said. “She has a lot of energy, even though she is quiet when you first meet her. She contributes to the defensive side of the game and being able to get the balls up.”

According to Kieffer, former coach Janice Van Gorp has had the biggest impact on the way she plays. Van Gorp died three years ago after suffering a brain aneurysm. Last year, the volleyball community honored the coach with the 1st annual Janice Ninemire Van Gorp Volleyball Tournament.

“ was probably one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” Kieffer said. “She passed away right after my season had ended with her. It was really hard. With everything in volleyball, I revert back to her.”

The Cougars won the Van Gorp tournament last year, defeating Blue Valley North and De Soto in the semifinals and finals. Even though the team wasn’t as successful in the tournament this year, Kieffer works to make her old coach proud.

“Playing college volleyball is my goal,” Kieffer said. “My dream school is Wyoming or Grand Canyon University.”


Also on varsity

Freshman Kanoelehua Misipeka, who goes by “K,” said that she was more excited than nervous to try out for the volleyball team..

“I wanted to be on the varsity team,” Misipeka said. “I knew who I was going up against. I had to compete with the other varsity players to be one of the starters.”

Misipeka trains with her father, who is a football coach for Delaware State University. Under his direction, she does vertical training and footwork practice.

Misipeka plays on Dynasty Volleyball’s 15 Black team; she has been playing volleyball for four years. She also participates in track, competing in the 100-meter run, long jump, javelin and relay events.