By Mike Deak
SYRACUSE – Monday afternoon Emma Dippon made it official, or perhaps, signed, sealed and delivered.
As Goshen College volleyball head coach Kourtney Crawford went over the quick hits of the program per the formal sheets, Dippon signed on stating she ‘is a good person’ and is ready to become a Maple Leaf in signing her National Letter of Intent in an afternoon ceremony at Wawasee High School.
Dippon becomes the second Warrior in as many years to join the program, joining 2020 Wawasee grad Madi Simmons on the roster as well as nearly a half dozen local players from in and around the Northern Lakes Conference. Crawford is thrilled to add another local to the program, but to also add some needed size to the roster.
“I don’t think there is a lot of molding we need to do with Emma, her play speaks for itself,” Crawford said. “We develop the person first and the athlete second. There’s just a few little tweaks she’ll have to catch onto to play in the program, but other than that she is too athletic, which means there’s not much I need to do.”
Dippon had a breakout year as a senior that helped her finish as one of the best to ever play for the green and gold. The middle hitter for the Warriors had 285 kills as a senior, the fourth-most kills in a season in program history, and her 489 career kills ranks sixth all time. While the result went against Wawasee in the sectional championship against NorthWood this past October, Dippon set the program record for kills in a match that night with 22, and also reached 20 in a match earlier in the season against Mishawaka.
For the season, Dippon led Wawasee (22-12) with 285 kills, 714 attack attempts and a 39.9 kill percentage. She also showed the ability to play well-rounded volleyball with 75 digs, 33 blocks, 12 aces and four assists.
“This was the first year that I actually played outside as a hitter during games, so that made me more versatile and open to learning how to succeed at the net more,” said Dippon, who was also among the team leaders in enthusiasm and celebrations. “I’m just set up now for whatever position I’m needed in college. I’m prepared for whatever position they need me to play.”
Dippon was named a senior captain, and also won the prestigious Warrior Way Award as a senior representing volleyball. Off the court, Dippon was bestowed the honor of being named Fall Homecoming Queen, and is ranked in the top half of her graduation class, holding an 8.0 GPA (on a 12 scale).
Added Wawasee volleyball head coach Jeff Phillips, “Emma is a player who likely made the largest jump as a player and a person during her senior year. She developed more confidence in herself and evolved into one of our more effective hitters. But more than that she became a leader who wanted the team to make the jump to the next level. She was the player that gave the motivational speech before the sectional championship which is not something I believe she would have been comfortable doing before.
“It is the confidence that created the opportunity to continue her career,” continued Phillips. “She always had the physical capabilities to play in college, but she really made the jump mentally this season. I am so proud of the person and player that she has become and we will miss her at Wawasee. I look forward to seeing her on the court at Goshen.”
Among the uniqueness of Dippon’s jump to college isn’t necessarily the signing to play volleyball, but the decision to choose sign language as a major. Dippon looks to formally study American Sign Language and Interpretation, to which the offering at Goshen, along with the shot at continuing volleyball, was too good to pass up.
“I have a cousin who is into sign language and I saw her on television doing it and got inspired to do it myself,” Dippon said, not using her hands to explain.“I heard last year during my club season that Goshen had a really good sign program. I looked more into it and visualized myself going down that path. Kourtney then talked to me about playing volleyball and that’s when I really decided that I could do sign language and play volleyball in college.”