Senior MJ Rupp continues to set up West York girls' volleyball for success

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch
West York’s MJ Rupp is celebrated by teammates after making her 2000th career assist during girls’ volleyball action against Kennard-Dale at West York Area High School  in West Manchester Township, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. West York would win the match 3-0. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

MJ Rupp heard the talk of setters tallying insane numbers of assists before she even registered her first one for the West York girls’ volleyball team.

Now Rupp is the one everyone is talking about.

A four-year starter for the Bulldogs, Rupp is still in the midst of a fabulous run with her teammates as they seek to return to the place the program was the year before the senior stepped on the court as a freshman — the state finals.

As a freshman, Rupp took over the setter role from one of the girls she looked up to during the Bulldogs' run to the 2018 PIAA Class 3A championship in Taylor Morley.

“There was a lot of pressure freshman year,” Rupp said.

Knowing she had big shoes to fill, Rupp was driven to become the best setter she could be. Hours and hours of practicing and conditioning proved invaluable in helping her get to a place she never imagined.

During Monday’s home contest against Kennard-Dale, Rupp finished with 24 assists to give the Bulldogs setter an incredible 2,004 assists for her career so far.

West York’s MJ Rupp assists during girls’ volleyball action at West York Area High School  in West Manchester Township, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. West York would win the match 3-0. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

“I had my entire family from all over (the state) here,” Rupp said of Monday’s milestone. “They gave me a volleyball that had my name on it and some flowers and I did get a necklace.”

Rupp's total is believed by the West York coaches to be the program's all-time record, and Rupp figures to keep increasing the number as the Bulldogs' season moves on.

“She’s always been willing to improve and keep building her game,” West York coach Barb Fretz said. “She got started early and has been on the varsity squad her entire career, and she’s gotten better and better to be able to work with the players that she’s played with year in and year out.”

Rupp’s milestone is especially impressive considering she missed out on a handful of games due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“That’s a legit 2,000, especially given the COVID year,” York Catholic coach Phil Autrey said of Rupp’s accomplishment.

West York’s MJ Rupp serves the ball to Kennard-Dale during girls’ volleyball action at West York Area High School  in West Manchester Township, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. West York would win the match 3-0. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

Milestones, however, are not what Rupp — who is committed to continue her volleyball and lacrosse careers next year at Muskingum University in Ohio — is looking for this season. She’s eager to help the Bulldogs get back to the state playoffs for the first time since she was a freshman, when she dished out whopping 855 assists.

“I really see us making it really far in districts and hopefully making it back to states,” Rupp said. “We made states my freshman year, but we lost in the first round, so hopefully we can exceed that.”

Rupp and her teammates swept Eastern York on Tuesday, with the senior recording 30 more assists to bring her career total to 2,034. The Bulldogs will have a better idea of just where they are on the state playoff trajectory Thursday when they visit York-Adams League Division II rival York Suburban.

The Trojans, who have won the past two D-II titles, and Bulldogs have combined to claim every division title since 2016, so these head-to-head clashes often impact who ultimately claims the crown.

“I know we’re going to try our hardest,” Rupp said. “Hopefully we’ll come out with a win.”