Right at home: Copple fitting in, finding role on CMU volleyball team
Moving away from home is never an easy transition for anyone. Living in a new city with new people can only add to the pressure of being out of your comfort zone.
For Central Michigan University volleyball breakout freshman setter Kylie Copple, handling the pressure comes naturally.
An Aurora, Col. native, Copple said Mount Pleasant is not as different as she imagined it would be.
“A court is a court wherever you go," Copple said. "There’s always rough points, but my parents really taught me to be strong through everything that I go through, so I think I’ve adjusted well.”
Copple now looks to her new family for a sense of support.
“The coaches and my teammates are so helpful,” she said. “My teammates were really welcoming. So it really wasn’t a rough transition and I don’t think it would be for anybody.”
She admits, however, that being so far away from home can affect her emotionally.
“I’m mostly homesick because of my little brother and sister,” Copple said. “I definitely miss them." "Other than that, I’m very independent and I knew I wanted to go to a school far away.”
Teammate and Wisconsin-native Kaitlyn McIntyre has helped Copple deal with everything from the time zone change to local slang.
“I sent her emails and texted her a lot to get her used to it,” McIntyre said. “She’s perfectly in the flow now and I don’t think she’s home sick or anything at all. She’s a funny girl, and sometimes she may come off as a serious person, but she’s a really fun time.”
McIntyre has helped Copple come to admire Michigan and the people that live in it.
“I love lakes, cold weather and the campus is so pretty,” Copple said. “I love my teammates, I love my coaches. Everything together made this the perfect place.”
The approval of her parents was something Copple said was necessary in order to make the decision to move thousands of miles away to attend school.
“My parents told me they could see me here. It just confirmed everything I thought too,” she said. “It was very important that my parents approved of the place I was attending.”
Though her incredible competitive nature is evident, Copple constanly reminds herself never to take sports to seriously.
“I tell myself it’s just a game,” she said. “I take myself back to when I was 12-years-old and first picked up a volleyball, and the feeling it gave me to finally feel like I found a place where I belong. That really helped me.”
CMU head coach Erik Olson said Copple brings a unique sense of perspective to his program.
“Kylie really bought into what our program was all about,” Olson said. “She’s OK with stumbling while she’s learning. She knows that there is no such thing as being perfect in athletics. That’s what we like about her.”
Copple started the season as CMU’s starting setter, but struggled in camp.
“She kind of played herself out of it,” Olson said. “She was caught off guard when she lost the job in the beginning. But she really took a deep breath and got it together. It says a lot about her drive maybe more so than she realizes.”
"Copple’s toughness was one of the things that caught his eye when recruiting the 6-foot freshman," Olson said.
When she is not setting up her teammates or blocking a kill, Copple likes to sit back and sing the songs of her favorite artist: Beyoncé.
“I love to sing,” she said. “I love (Beyonce) to death. I have a pretty hard time singing in front of people because I’m pretty shy in certain areas.”
The journey Copple has taken to a starting role on the team has taught her a great deal about herself.
“This is the best family volleyball team I’ve ever been on. I just feel so welcomed,” Copple said. “I just learned how to play on a team where you trust and love everyone for who they are. It's great to play in that environment."