‘Hoppe’ing in his idol’s footsteps

Jordan Hoppe, outside hitter for Orange Coast College’s volleyball team, practices during a workout session Monday.

Orange Coast College volleyball standout Jordan Hoppe gets his motivation from the people he has looked up to in life but the first year captain, nicknamed by his team Hop, has led his team by example.

With outside hitter Hoppe on the court, OCC had its 10th straight win Wednesday and compiled the second best record in the league of 11-1.

All eyes were on Hoppe, a 19-year-old sophomore communications major from Wisconsin who has been producing top-tier stats and, more importantly, leading his team to wins.

“Once in a while a team becomes someone’s team, and this is Hoppe’s team,” 10-year OCC men’s volleyball coach Travis Turner said.  

Throughout the Pirates’ winning streak, Hoppe has made a name for himself in the league through his offensive striking ability. He is fifth in kills per set and top 10 in kills and hitting percentage.

His domination on offense has come up in key times, according to the team.

“He comes in in the clutch a lot. If you need a big swing out of him, he’ll be there,” freshman middle blocker and teammate Chris Orem said.

Hoppe’s game-changing results have been due to the way he works himself outside the games.

“My work ethic separates me from the rest of the players,” Hoppe said.

The outside hitter trains 40 hours a week, keeps himself to a strict diet of chicken, rice and broccoli, and is constantly watching professionals and trying to emulate their game.

The player he looks up to most is France’s professional men’s volleyball outside hitter and gold medalist Earvin N’Gapeth. According to Hoppe, there are certain parts of the French man’s game he tries to insert into his own game.

“He’s just crafty and creative. He’ll score points and I won’t even know how he does it,” Hoppe said.

Some of Hoppe’s greatest influences have come from his own home.

Born in the cold football town of Greendale, Wisc., Hoppe instead looked toward volleyball at the age of 12 with the help of two residential experts, his own volleyball-playing parents.

With his parents playing ball around the house, Hoppe said he was drawn into the sport. Volleyball is in his blood. His mother played in college and his dad coached and played in some professional volleyball events as Hoppe grew up.

Hoppe proved to be at his parent’s skill level early. He began playing well on club teams, he was named player of the year in his conference and he made the all-state roster during high school.  

His game proved to be special and he knew where he wanted to take his volleyball career after high school. After playing a few club tournaments in California, the decision was made.

“The culture brought me to Orange Coast. I liked the different style of volleyball and people out here,” Hoppe said.

In August 2015, Hoppe made the decision to move away from his lifetime home in Greendale to play at OCC.  After a stellar freshman season, Hoppe was ineligible for play for the playoffs due to dropping a class, and the team went on to lose in the state championship.

Hoppe said he’s learned a lot from volleyball.

“Volleyball is always the next point, so whatever happens to you, you’re going to have another opportunity for success,” Hoppe said.

The lesson he learned proved to be huge this season as he has become one of the best players in the league as he and his team go for the seventh state championship in school history.

“The courage it took him to come back and correct it was huge,” Turner said.

Turner wasn’t the only one to praise Hoppe’s determination and skill.  He has had several offers and plans to go Division I with either Cal State Long Beach or Grand Canyon University next year.

“Whatever he’s doing, he just wants to flat out win,” second year assistant coach McKay Smith said.

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