KINGS POINT, N.Y. (June 1, 2018) – A couple days after presenting his team with their 2017 Skyline Conference Championship Rings, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women's volleyball head coach Tim Gaiser announced on Friday the Mariners' team captains for the 2018 season. Rising seniors Kate Lefler (Norman, Okla.) and Megan Toler (Prunedale, Calif.) and rising junior Kyleigh Kappas (Parker, Colo.) were selected to lead Merchant Marine in the upcoming campaign beginning this fall.
"Over the course of the last two seasons I have witnessed the maturation of these student-athletes," commented Gaiser. "I am truly proud to be able to say that these three Midshipmen have proven their leadership ability and will be providing the kind of solid guidance that we need and want for this team."
Lefler will return for her senior season after being named to the All-Skyline Second Team in 2017. She has played in 61 sets over three seasons at Kings Point as both a middle and outside hitter and she has recorded 463 career kills (2.33 per set) to go along with 282 digs (1.42 per set), 47 total blocks and 43 service aces. In addition to her leadership role with the team, off the court, as a senior in the first rotation this upcoming fall, Lefler will serve as the Fourth Company Watch Officer in the USMMA Regiment of Midshipmen.
"Kate is the model for a team captain and leader in everything that we do as good teammates off the court," said Gaiser. "She's respected campus-wide for her hard work, intelligence and loyalty. Kate's discipline, can-do attitude and motivation to excel in all phases of the game are the kind of traits that we want our newest team members to emulate."
In three seasons here at the Academy, Toler has played in 70 career matches for the Mariners and has registered 180 total kills, 167 digs, 45 blocks and 26 service aces. Toler has also earned a pair of conference Academic Honors throughout her time at KP, earning a spot on the Skyline Academic Honor Roll in the Fall of 2016 and, more recently, being named to the Fall 2017 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Volleyball Academic Honor Roll. Off the court, as a senior in the first rotation this upcoming fall, Toler will serve as the Third Company Human Relations Officer in the Regiment.
"Megan is perfect for the role of team captain and is the academic leader for this team," added Gaiser. "Her work ethic, personality and character lend themselves perfectly for peer-to-peer mentorship in the academic process, and her detail-oriented nature lends itself well for the task of tracking academic performance and following-up with her fellow student-athletes."
Kappas, a 2016 All-Skyline Second Team selection her freshman season and a 2017 All-Skyline First Team selection last year, has appeared in 50 career matches over the past two campaigns. She has been the quarterback of the Mariners' offense from the setter position and has registered an impressive 9.05 assists per set (1,539 total assists) to go along with 414 digs (2.44 per set), 86 service aces and 30 blocks.
"Kyleigh has been the on-court captain for me every time that I have had her in a lineup for the last two seasons," commented Gaiser. "She has excelled in leading the team's offense in spite of being the youngest player on the floor since the time she arrived at Kings Point. Her ability to make the right decisions instinctively is something that very few players possess. She has a high volleyball I.Q., and makes everybody on the court better with her hustle and outstanding decisions."
More information on the upcoming Fall 2018 USMMA women's volleyball season will be available throughout the summer. Make sure to be logged on to www.USMMASports.com for all the latest news on all things Mariner volleyball.
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