A slight southern drawl isn’t the only thing Codi Schepp picked up in Texas.
After two seasons of women’s volleyball with the Paris Junior College Dragons, the Kalamalka Laker grad earned a big promotion in securing an NCAA Division 1 scholarship with the Mercer State University Bears in Macon, Ga.
“Apparently I have a little bit of an accent. Everybody is making fun of me,” laughed Schepp, who visited friends in family in Vernon over the Christmas break. She also got in some snowmobiling and picked up a few shifts at Bean To Cup on 27th Street.
Going the junior college route has been a blessing for the 6-foot middle blocker, who said it allowed her to find her game at the next level while providing exposure to NCAA schools.
Schepp, who received an All-Conference honourable mention with the Dragons, led her team in blocks per set (.584) and was second in both kills (281) and kills per set (2.361).
“It opened the door and helped me be seen,” said Schepp, who turns 20 in May.
“I learned a faster game. The way they play down there is a lot faster with more offence. And with the training at the collegiate level, you get stronger.
“I’m at that level where I’m ready move into that school and I’m ready to go, whereas (if I had come from high school) I’d be coming off the bench to play.”
Schepp will need to be ready for action because the Bears are losing two middles to graduation, so she will have an opportunity to earn starting minutes right away.
Bears’ head coach Noelle Rooke has made a habit of searching the junior college scene for up-and-coming players that might be seasoned enough to step up, and Schepp was on her list. However, it was Schepp who made first contact.
“All at the same time, Codi contacted me,” smiled Rooke, impressed by Schepp’s initiative.
“I really wanted to bring in some experience. She has been in that college atmosphere and she understands what college life is like. She already has that mind set.”
Schepp suited up for a court session with the Bears on a flydown early in the Christmas break, and it confirmed for Rooke she had made the right choice.
“They were impressed. My players confirmed what I’d already thought. She can play ball – she has a heavy arm.”
Added Schepp: “I was a little bit nervous to go there and play, but once you get to know people, it’s the same old thing usually. You fall into the rhythm.”
After considering other offers from schools in Alaska, Hawaii, Ohio, Northern Alabama, Ohio and Texas, Schepp said the visit to the Mercer campus was what cemented her decision.
“It’s a gorgeous private school. They almost call themselves a smaller Ivy League because of how academic it is,” said Schepp, who will begin her third year of pre-pharmacy next fall.
Macon is a city of about 400,000 people south of Atlanta. It was the home of the now defunct Macon Whoopee hockey team that played in the Central Hockey League from 1996-01.
As an added bonus, Mercer is one of the NCAA schools taking part in a beach volleyball trial this spring. If all goes well, it will be officially introduced in 2012.
“It’s pretty good timing on my part,” smiled the blond Schepp, noting the indoor and beach seasons will offset one another. “It will be pretty cool to compete on the sand just as much as they do indoor.”