Volleyball player breaks UIW record

By Ashley Festa

Kim Kvapil

Kim Kvapil is a powerhouse, both on the court and in the classroom. The senior volleyball player broke the record for awards in a single season at UIW while maintaining a 3.73 grade point average.

Among her 16 senior-year awards, Kvapil (pronounced Qua-pil) was named Heartland Conference Player of the Year and Daktronics South Central Regional Player of the Year, Heartland Conference Hitter of the Week four times and American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Week.

The modesty she maintains while discussing these accomplishments is unusual in such a talented player.

“It’s a team thing,” Kvapil, 22, explains about her accomplishments, “especially when you’re on a team that has a lot of talent. I really like team sports. I like how everybody gets to do their part.”

However, she describes herself as “really intense” on the court. “I take the game really seriously,” Kvapil said.

Girls who are new to the team quickly realize that intensity during their first time on the court with her. Before getting to know Kvapil, some of them have misunderstood that passion.

“Some of the girls thought I was mean at first,” Kvapil admitted. But when the players have time to get to know how each team member handles pressure, they soon learn she isn’t quite as harsh as their first impression.

“I hope they would say I’m a lot of fun,” she said with a laugh. But you can see by the look on her face when she steps onto the court that volleyball is more than a game.


Senior Kim Kvapil works as hard in the classroom as she does on the volleyball court, earning a 3.73 grade point average.

Volleyball has been a lifelong activity for the outside hitter from La Vernia, Texas. At the age of 6, Kvapil began playing the sport with her mother as her coach until she was 10. It was about that time that she met Mark Papich, the current athletics director for UIW and former volleyball coach, at a Club Tournament during her off-season.

“He’s always been like a second dad to me. He probably taught me almost everything I know about volleyball,” Kvapil said. “He’s always there for the whole team.”

As successful as she’s been on the court, she’s had an equal amount of success in the academic realm. As a communications major, she dreams of a career in television one day. And she’s already started laying the foundation with an internship at KSAT 12, the local ABC television affiliate in San Antonio.

If you ask about her most significant moment so far at the station, she’ll tell you, with a huge grin on her face, “I interviewed Kobe Bryant.”

The opportunity arose when she was attending her first Spurs game as an intern. The Los Angeles Lakers had just lost, and Kvapil was worried that Bryant wouldn’t want to discuss the game. When he was open and pleasant, she was thrilled.

“I just asked questions about the game,” she said. “He was really nice.”

Though she had offers from other universities when she was trying to settle on a school, she happily decided on UIW. It all came down to the attitude of the volleyball team.

“Everywhere else, they seemed more like individuals. But here, everybody seemed like best friends. And it happens every year. I think that’s why we have so much success.”

In addition to her hard work and study, she believes she has had success in the classroom because of the university’s professors.

At times her volleyball schedule required that she miss class, but she was still academically successful, thanks to her professors. “They’d have to work extra hard to make sure we’d stay on task. I think that’s why I’ve been so successful with academics. They just really cared.”

Not only did they care about her academic success, they cared about her personal achievements as well. After winning an award for volleyball, she’d receive congratulatory e-mail messages from her professors.

At the rate Kvapil earns honors and awards, her professors must have been sending her a lot of e-mail.