Sunday , December 31, 2017 - 5:15 AM
MORGAN — Marcie Stapley doesn’t have the ideal height for a middle, and she knows it.
But just in case the 5-foot-11 (in shoes) Morgan High senior needed a reminder, her volleyball team participated in a team camp against Pleasant Grove where Stapley looked across the net to see 6-foot-4, BYU-bound Heather Gneiting.
“I looked at her and I was like, ‘Holy cow,’” Stapley said. “She was a head taller than me and I thought, ‘Oh, no.’”
Stapley may not have the height, but she’s definitely not to be underestimated. She slammed 379 kills and hit .445 to lead Morgan to its third consecutive state championship and has been named the 2017 All-Area Volleyball Team’s Most Valuable Player.
“Honestly, it’s not the height that matters,” Stapley said. “It’s the fight inside that matters, and so you’ve just got to be confident in yourself and positive.”
2017 ALL-AREA VOLLEYBALL
Stapley has confidence in herself even though some don’t. Throughout her life, she’s been told she’s too short to play Division-I volleyball. She’s been strengthened by the support of her teammates.
“My teammates believe in me and they have the confidence,” Stapley said. “Every time before the game they’re just like, ‘Marcie, you’re gonna get her. You can do this.’”
She also has a head coach that believes in her.
“She just makes people around her better,” Morgan coach Liz Wiscombe said. “She’s a builder, and for our team this year, she was a total builder. She always took care of everybody else, made sure everybody else was playing hard, competing.
“She never complained about the set … it was always just, ‘I’ll take care of the set that you give me.’”
The middle position is taken seriously at Morgan. Wiscombe likes using her go-to hitters as middles because of how much more dynamic it makes the attack.
“With our middles, she could come swing here, she could swing anywhere in the middle, she could go behind the setter,” Wiscombe said. “And she can swing at any tempo — a really quick set or a higher set. Whatever she wanted, whatever we felt we could score on the other team.”
Stapley proved she deserved to be Morgan’s go-to hitter with eye-popping stats, even against the top teams Morgan faced.
Against eventual 4A runner-up Sky View in the season opener, she hit .341 with 18 kills. She then hit .400 with 15 kills against Layton and .370 with 13 kills against eventual 6A champion Lone Peak.
In a tournament that included Fremont and Davis, Stapley hit .366 while averaging 9.4 kills per match, and in two matches against two-time defending state champion Bountiful, she hit .378 while averaging 17 kills per match.
If the best 4A, 5A and 6A teams struggled to figure Stapley out, Region 13 opponents had no shot. Indeed, in Morgan’s eight region games, she hit .571 while averaging 13.5 kills per match.
In Morgan’s four 3A tournament games, Stapley hit .566 while averaging 15.5 kills per match.
Stapley pushed through the state tournament despite a partially torn retinaculum in her right ankle.
“I call her the warrior,” Wiscombe said. “How many kids can play injured as badly as she was, and as soon as she went down?
“Marcie would play with a broken leg. If it was broken, she’d just drag it and keep playing. And you don’t encourage kids to do that at all, but you know with her there was no way you could keep her off the court.”
Stapley is committed to play volleyball at Snow College. She hopes to play there for two years before continuing her collegiate volleyball career elsewhere.
“I’ll play my heart out for anyone,” Stapley said. “It’s just a sport I love to death and I’ll give it my all.”
Sign up for e-mail news updates.