Heritage's Stamper rides wave to receive All-American status

December 02, 2011|By DAN KAUFFMAN |
  • Heritage Academy junior Kara Stamper, a standout volleyball player, holds her All-American certificate from the National Association of Christian Athletes.
Photo courtesy of Heritage Academy

HAGERSTOWN — As the competition got more difficult for Heritage Academy’s volleyball team during postseason play, junior Kara Stamper kept elevating her play to lift the Eagles to never-before-seen heights.

Behind its hard-swinging middle hitter, Heritage repeated as Mason Dixon Christian Conference and Maryland Christian School tournament champions, then fought through the losers’ bracket of the National Association of Christian Athletes Division I tournament to finish second in the country.

“The momentum really built,” said Stamper, who earned Defensive MVP honors at nationals. “As the competition got better we pulled together as a team more.”

Stamper was recognized individually by the NACA for her superb play, earning All-American honors. The official certificate was recently presented to her in front of the Heritage Academy student body.

“I was very surprised,” Stamper said. “It was really cool at the same time. I was very happy.”

“I was very thrilled to receive that certificate,” said Eagles coach Young-Sook Anderson, who presented it to Stamper. “Kara definitely deserves it because of the way she played at nationals. All the coaches recognized what a great player she is.”

Stamper averaged 4.40 kills per game through the Eagles’ regular season, then turned up the volume for states and nationals. She had 67 kills in 11 games (6.09 per game) to lead Heritage to the MCST title, then had 114 kills in 18 games (6.33 per game) at nationals as the Eagles lost their opening-round match in bracket play, then won four straight to claw into the championship round.

“The first match we lost, it was a little bit of a shock,” Stamper said. “We hadn’t lost much at all this season and it was a wake-up call that if we don’t play our hardest, we’re going to be out. It was motivation.”

She finished the season averaging 5.66 kills, 1.84 blocks, 2.61 digs and 0.78 aces per game.

“She reached 1,000 kills this year. Obviously, she has grown every year stronger and stronger as an offensive player,” Anderson said. “This year, I saw she was a lot stronger in the back row, too. Her serve was very consistent.”

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