Baler adjusts to island life

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Former San Benito High volleyball player Leslie Schipper now plays for Hawaii Pacific University. Photo courtesy of Schipper family

Volleyball champ settles in with Hawaiian team
She was an All-League player on the San Benito High volleyball
team; the No. 1 offensive threat at San Jose City College for the
past year-and-a-half and now Leslie Schipper is hoping to do more
of the same for Hawaii Pacific University.
Volleyball champ settles in with Hawaiian team

She was an All-League player on the San Benito High volleyball team; the No. 1 offensive threat at San Jose City College for the past year-and-a-half and now Leslie Schipper is hoping to do more of the same for Hawaii Pacific University.

Schipper arrived at the NCAA Division II School in January after receiving a partial scholarship to play her favorite sport from head coach Daryl Kapis, who first recruited Schipper to play for the Jaguars where he coached her for a season before accepting the position in Hawaii.

After helping guide City College to a fifth-place ranking in the state her freshman year, the Jaguars slipped to third in the conference last fall.

This fall the powerful right side hitter is hoping to help the Sea Warriors of HPU win a Pacific West Conference title.

“Right now we’re in spring training,” said Shipper from the Oahu island campus. “There are only eight of us right now, but we’re practicing hard.”

Schipper is currently training six days a week mostly on weight lifting and conditioning work. It’s only been a few months but she’s already adapted well to life on the Hawaiian island.

“At the beginning I was a little homesick,” said the 19-year-old athlete. “I’d never been to Hawaii on a vacation or anything. The pace is a lot slower over here and the people are more relaxed. I like it over here a lot.”

She did get a chance to come home to Hollister last week during the university’s spring break period.

While in Hawaii she is expected to play most of the time on the right side of the floor. Although in high school she was best known for her smashing kill shots as the Balers outside hitter, which is why she was named to the Tri County Athletic League’s All-League team both her junior and senior years.

She also knows now that the competition will be much harder than it was even at City College, a school that is known for having a solid volleyball program.

“The level of play is much higher now,” Schipper said.

The amount of travel is much farther, too.

“Playing over here we have a lot of long plane flights because the other schools are so far away,” she said. “We also play other Hawaiian schools too, and schools have to come over here too, so it’s not so bad.”

The main reason Schipper opted to make the trek to the island school was because she enjoys playing for Kapis, understands his system and knew he would continue to help her elevate her game.

“He never played himself before,” she said. “But he fell in love with the sport, has a real passion for it and is a student of the game. He’s been coaching a long time and has a lot of knowledge behind him.”

In addition to playing under Kapis at San Jose City College, Schipper also played on a club team that traveled to Europe to compete during the summer months.

“With him as my coach I’m constantly learning about the game, and I keep getting better,” Schipper said.

Schipper is not the only former player from SJCC to have transferred to HPU. Her roommate, Jackie Tesesco, is the Sea Warriors libero or defensive specialist on the team. She also played with Schipper at SJCC and is from San Jose.

John Bagley can be reached at [email protected]