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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • Mapusaga heads Cougars on all-CVC volleyball team

  • She led in kills with 293
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  • Tiffany Mapusaga is only 5-foot-5 but stands tall among outside hitters in the Central Valley Conference.
    Not only is the Taft College sophomore one of the best hitters in the conference, she also is among the top defensive players.
    While she is first in kills (293) and third in kills per set (3.49), Mapusaga also finished third in defensive digs (286) and fourth in digs per set (3.40).
    "It's amazing that she is actually the leading hitter in the conference when we are a third place team and Fresno and Porterville have so many good hitters," said head coach Kanoe Bandy. "She has the highest vertical jump of any 5-5 player I've ever seen."
    Mapusaga combines her talent with court smarts.
    "She is a very smart hitter," Bandy said. "She learned that court awareness last year as a defensive specialist. She used that to her advantage when I switched her to outside hitter this year."
    Despite her impressive numbers, Bandy said Mapusaga is likely to find it difficult to entice recruiters from four-year colleges.
    "The hard part is she is going to be a tough one to place," she said.
    That comes from previous experience.
    Bandy has had other outside hitters that were small in stature, including All-American Adrianne Paige.
    When they moved on to the next level they were converted to defensive specialists.
    "That's probably what will happen with Tiffany," Bandy said.
    Not surprisingly, Mapusaga made first team all-conference.
    So did two of her teammates.
    Maeleen Hopeau was third in the conference in blocks per set (0.78) and fourth in hitting percentage (.320) and Lani Kaiwi was the team's libero (defensive specialist) and floor leader.
    Setter Kaylynn Palama made second team all-conference. She was second in the conference in assists per set (9.45).
    Hopeau and Palama are freshmen.
    Earning honorable mention honors was sophomore outside hitter and middle blocker Haley Walrath, who juggled volleyball and motorcycle racing. She had 50 kills, 60 digs and 27 blocks.
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