High School Pair To Join The Bulldogs In 2008

Ferris State University women's head volleyball coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm has announced the signings of prep student-athletes Samantha Fordyce (DeWitt) (pronounced For-dice)and Mallory Kopa (Marysville) (pronounced KO-pah) to attend and play women's volleyball at FSU during the 2007 fall early-signing period.

Fordyce and Kopa will don the crimson and gold starting with the 2008 Ferris State volleyball season.

"We are very excited to have both join our program," said Brandel-Wilhelm, who completed her 12th year at Ferris State in the 2007 season. "The two bring a lot of enthusiasm, competitiveness and talent to our 2008 team."

A 5-11 setter, Fordyce earned Class B All-State Third Team honors this season at DeWitt High School under head coach Kayleen Cook. A two-time (2005 and 2006) Class B All-State Honorable Mention selection, Fordyce has earned all-region and all-area accolades the last three seasons (2005-07). For the 2007 season, the all-area dream team member totaled 233 kills with 113 service aces, 138 blocks, 277 digs, and 1,235 assists in 59 matches while helping lead the Panthers to a 40-15 overall record. DHS also claimed both a Capitol Area Athletic Conference (CAAC) and district championship titles in 2007.

Samantha Fordyce
Mallory Kopa
Fordyce, who is a two-time (2006-07) recipient of the CAAC Volleyball Tournament Emily Duits Most Valuable Player Award, achieved all-conference laurels in each of her last three prep seasons (2005-07) along with being a three-time (2005-07) academic all-area honoree. She produced 157 kills, 106 service aces, 112 blocks, 202 digs and 890 assists in her junior year as the DeWitt finished the 2006-07 campaign at 32-18-2 overall.

Fordyce participated in the 2006 USA Junior Olympics in Atlanta, Ga., and will be playing club volleyball in 2008 for the Spartan Juniors 18-Under Team directed by head coach Erin Hartley. She was a member of head coach Jennifer Dahenens' Top Gun 17-Under Team in 2007. Along with volleyball, Fordyce also was a four-player basketball player at DHS. She holds membership in both National Honor Society and Business Professionals of America organizations.

The daughter of Michael and Sandra Fordyce of DeWitt, Mich., Samantha plans to major in pre-optometry at Ferris State upon graduating from DHS in 2008. Her father played baseball at Mankato (Minn.) State University while her mother was a cheerleader at the university.

"Samantha is a perfect fit for our program," said Brandel-Wilhelm. "She is a dynamic player and an outstanding leader."

Kopa, a 5-11 middle hitter, earned honorable mention all-state laurels as senior at Marysville High School for the 2007 season. The 2007 team captain also garnered All-Macomb Area Conference (MAC) First-Team honors along with both first-team all-area and all-region kudos under head coach John Knuth as the Vikings compiled a 49-4 record in the 2007 campaign. In her senior year, Kopa accumulated 598 kills on 1,221 total attempts for a .352 hitting percentage. She generated a .349 attack percentage as a junior with 682 kills in 1,365 attempts.

In her prep volleyball career, Kopa helped lead MHS to both a district and regional championship crown in each of the last three seasons (2005-07) and a state championship title in 2006. Marysville reached the state semifinals during her junior year in the 2006-07 season and concluded the campaign with a 52-3-1 overall mark.

Kopa also competed one season (2004) in softball and is presently midst her fourth season (2004-08) in basketball at MSH. She also was a two-year member of the school's band.

Mallory, the daughter of Edward and Carol Kopa of Marysville, Mich., plans to study architectural technology at FSU.

"Mallory is a skilled player with a strong competitive desire," Brandel-Wihelm said. "She will give us great depth and experience in the middle. Mallory is a winner and a true team player."

Kopa will be reunited on the 2008 Ferris State women's volleyball team with Marysville High alumni Lisa Tobiczyk and Amanda Kettlewell.

Ferris State concluded the 2007 season at 20-10 overall while compiling a 12-6 mark in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (GLIAC) North Division. The squad's 20 wins this fall represented the ninth time in the last 10 seasons in which the Bulldogs have tallied a minimum of 20 victories in a season. Ferris also produced the program's 10th consecutive winning campaign in 2007 as the Bulldogs reached the double-figure wins total for the 27th straight year. FSU also made its 10th consecutive GLIAC Postseason Tournament appearance this campaign.

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