NEXT LEVEL: Stanford volleyball team pays tribute to Sam Wopat

Sam Wopat will continue to be a part of the Stanford women’s volleyball team.

Wopat, a former Dos Pueblos High star, passed away on March 25. She was entering her junior year with the Cardinal.

As a tribute to Sam, the volleyball team will have her initials “SW” embroidered onto its uniforms.

“It has and will continue to impact this team,” Stanford coach John Dunning of Sam’s passing. “It is one of those things you don’t get past, but you learn to move forward together and keep her memory with you. There is no question that Sam is going to be with this team this year. We are going to put her initials on our uniform as a tribute to her and as a way to bring her onto the court with us every time we play.”

Sam’s twin sister, Carly, is a returning All-American for the Cardinal, who were ranked sixth in the country in the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll.

Carly Wopat told the Web site volleywood.net that Sam inspires her and her teammates to play at the highest level.

“Sam is definitely involved with the team this season,” Carly said. “The whole team is thinking of her. We’re holding her locker in the locker room. We have her initials on our spandex, so every time we step on the court, she’ll be in our thoughts. Personally, Sam is always in my heart and in my mind. Every point, every game, every match, I’ll be playing for her.”

Carly started all 30 matches at middle blocker last season and led the Pac-12 and ranked second in the nation with 1.63 blocks per set, which was fourth all-time on Stanford’s single season list. She finished with 184 blocks, fifth-most in a single season by a Stanford player, and her .383 hitting percentage ranked third in the conference.

She started her junior year strong, leading Stanford with 10 kills on 15 attempts with just one error and had a match-high six blocks to go along with four digs in a three-set sweep of St. Mary’s at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Hawaii. She earned all-tournament honors.

BROWN STARTING FOR IRISH: Sammie Brown, who played with the Wopat sisters at Dos Pueblos, is the starting setter for the Notre Dame women’s volleyball team. Brown dished out 25 assists and collected five digs in a four-set loss to top-ranked UCLA at the Nebraska Tournament.

She led the team with 16 assists in a 3-0 sweep over Saint Louis.

DONS AT BOSTON U: Former Santa Barbara High soccer standouts Kai Miller and Sanford Spivey are starting their second year playing for the Terriers.

Miller had a couple of shots for the BU women’s team in a 2-1 loss to Dayton in a Fox Soccer Channel Game of the Week broadcast on Thursday. Miller was a substitute.

Spivey started for the men’s team in a 3-0 loss to St. John’s.

Last season, he was of only three Terriers to appear in all 18 games, and he was named to the America East All-Rookie Team.

Spivey and the Terriers face a demanding schedule that includes UConn, Providence, Boston College, Wake Forest and defending national champion North Carolina.

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