MURRAY— Murray State head volleyball coach David Schwepker has announced Emma Kailiponi, Courtney Swafford and Alysha Smith will join the Racers for the 2019 season.
“I am super excited about this great group of athletes coming in!” said Schwepker. “This fall we will be bringing in an outside/setter in Alysha Smith and two fantastic liberos in Courtney Swafford and Emma Kailiponi. Our program is always very solid in defense and I believe because of these two young ladies we will continue to be so for the next few years.”
Swafford is originally from Ooltewah, Tennessee, but spent the last two seasons playing for LaGrange College in California. She was the team captain for LaGrange and averaged over four digs per set.
“We are fortunate that Courtney has decided to transfer to Murray State and finish her career as a Racer,” said Schwepker. “She is an excellent athlete that has defensively led every team she has ever been on. She is going to be pushed in our program and that is exactly what she wanted so I can’t wait to see how she progresses in the next few years.”
Kailiponi comes to Murray State from Anaheim, California. She was a three-time all-suburban league selection while playing for Mayfair High School.
“Emma is a fireball!” said Schwepker. “There is no other way to describe her. I am pretty picky about my libero’s and Emma passed all of the tests with all “A’s”. Oh yeah, she also has straight A’s in the classroom! Her pursuit of the ball and ability to get balls up off of the block’s touch is uncanny, her passing is excellent, she can handle a hard-driven ball and her demeanor on the court is truly team oriented! I believe she will be one of the best Murray State will ever have and that is saying a lot because of our past and certainly our current libero’s. This should be exciting!”
Smith hails from Las Vegas where she played for Shadow Ridge High School. She produces in all facets of the game as she recorded over 200 kills, 130 digs, 30 blocks, and 30 assists as a senior.
“Alysha can do it all! When I first saw the film she sent me, I was most impressed with how fluid of an athlete and volleyball player she is,” said Schwepker. “She makes volleyball look easy! It all made sense to me when I found out she was a highly ranked gymnast, but thankfully (at least for us) she outgrew that sport and took up volleyball. I am so thankful she did! She is a player that we can basically put anywhere on the court and she will excel. I am looking forward to seeing what exactly her niche will be at this level but I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t play many roles for us.”
These three newcomers and the rest of the Racers will look to defend their OVC title when they begin the 2019 season in August.