She can dazzle you with her smile or kill you with her right arm. Either way, the St. Mary’s Huskies are getting quite a catch in Kalamalka Lakers’ volleyball phenom Daralyn Schepp.
Schepp garnered MVP status in sparking the Lakers to the provincial senior AA girls volleyball title this season. The Halifax-based Huskies had already seen Schepp’s act at last year’s club nationals in Toronto, and are now even more stoked about giving the 5-foot-11 dynamo a scholarship.
“We were impressed with her play on the court (in Toronto) and how she handled herself,” said Huskies’ fifth-year head coach Darren Russell. “Daralyn is very versatile – she is athletic, hits the ball hard and can play from either the leftside or the rightside.
“Other players I know speak very highly of her character and her on-court abilities. We feel that she will be a solid CIS player and we are very confident she will play a big part in our future success.”
Schepp and Surrey Christian Falcons’ all-star Rachel Windhorst are the Huskies’ top recruits for next fall. The fifth-ranked Lakers upset the No. 2 Falcons at the B.C. playdowns.
Daralyn has received sound advice on university ball from her sister, Codi, who played as a junior this season with the Mercer University Bears in Georgia. Codi was twice named provincial MVP, boosting the Lakers to the 2008 AAA crown.
“She tells me it’s a whole different kind of level,” said Daralyn, who turns 18 in July. “You really have to know what you’re doing. There are girls on the other court who want to win, and they are ready to do it. So you have to prepare yourself. She says the biggest thing she learned is always listen to what’s happening or what’s going on.”
Schepp is always switched on, driven, determined and hates to lose. She took up the game in Grade 5 at Coldstream Elementary, soon moved to club ball under coaches like Keith Becker, and has been under the tutelage of Maria Hansen and Jeff Huggins since Grade 8.
“Maria has taught me to be really diverse and be competitive, to always take the ball and to lead, not follow. Jeff has taught me to really work on my arm swing, to always angle the ball.”
Her on-floor philosophy is simple, but smart.
“If you mess up, shake it off and get the next one. I think that’s one of the best things I’ve learned.”
Schepp’s book-end versatality when attacking will enable her to get good minutes as a freshman on a young team which lost five of six starters a year ago, and is still on the rise. The Huskies placed second in the Atlantic Conference at 10-8 behind the Dalhousie Tigers before falling 3-0 to the Cats in the playoff final.
“We have one starting leftside (spot) up for grabs and with Daralyn able to play both sides, she will have a good chance at contributing right away,” said Russell.
“She is an extremely hard worker both on and off the court, and I know she will continue to move our program forward.”
Said Schepp, who also plays high school hoops and soccer: “I think Darren wants me to have good arm strength because I’m strong with that. I think he wants me to play offence a lot more, to have a big arm swing and nail the ball.”
She will spend the summer working and training (at Fitness West). Huskies’ strength and conditioning coach Thomas Kochanoff has sent her a program which stresses vertical and abs. His Global 360 core sets are built to increase speed and power.
Huggins, who helped Hansen out as Lakers’ head coach this year, figures Schepp is a natural for the lightning-fast university game.
“She has all the physical skills to succeed at the CIS level,” said Huggins. “Her back-row attacks during volleyball provincials were devastating for the other teams. You could hear a gasp when a ball was set to her back row. The spectators, players and opposing coaches knew that she would hammer the ball and place it in the open spot for the kill.”
Huggins describes Schepp as a quiet and positive leader who makes big shots to revive her teammates. He calls her a big-stage player.
“She earned the MVP because she understood the game and although she has a cannon for an arm she also learned this year that touch and ball placement were very important. She made numerous heady plays by reading the defences and taking advantage of her opponents’ weaknesses.”
Schepp and Windhorst were both named to the The Province’s Best of B.C as voted on by the head coaches of B.C.’s CIS women’s volleyball programs. Schepp was rated 11th, Windhorst fifth.
A huge Steve Nash fan who praises her family for big support, Schepp fondly looks back at the Lakers’ championship run.
“What really made us a good team was that we were all good friends. We could always joke and I could just be myself. I think we just molded together and gelled.”
Her oldest sister, Dana, was also a stellar athlete at Kal. She used a Rotary grant to travel to Thailand upon graduation, and now teaches in Kelowna.
Daralyn will take general studies in year one and can’t wait to tour famous Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia.