Women's Volleyball


Denver Volleyball Signs Two to 2018 Signing Class

Nov. 9, 2017

DENVER— University of Denver’s head volleyball coach Tom Hogan has announced the signing of two student-athletes, Mara Abernethy and Graceyn Tippens, to continue their academic and athletic careers beginning in 2018.

Abernethy, a middle blocker from Colorado Springs, compiled an impressive resume at Coronado High School, where she led the Cougars as a captain her senior year. Abernethy won numerous awards throughout high school, including honorable mention all-league in 2015, first-team academic all-state, Colorado Springs Gazette second team all-region, all-state honorable mention, Colorado Springs Metro League First Team All-League and Colorado Springs Metro League MVP in 2016, and was named the XTRA Sports 1300 Athlete of the Week this season. From 2014-16, she had 541 kills, 197 blocks, and posted a .299, .250 and .393 attack percentage, respectively.  In 2016, she led or was in the top five of the state for hitting percentage for the majority of the season.

“Mara has an impressively high volleyball IQ and knowledge of the game, paired with an athleticism that brings her well above 10 feet,” Hogan said.  “She has excelled while competing at the highest level of club volleyball on one of the nation’s top teams, which will allow her to seamlessly transition to the collegiate level and make an immediate impact. On top of being a volleyball player with great potential, Mara is a fantastic student in the classroom and will find success at DU both on and off the court.”

Away from the court, Abernethy was a co-editor-in-chief of her school newspaper, a National Honor Society member, a LINK freshmen mentor, part of the Local Politics Club and the International Awareness Club, and has volunteered with countless organizations throughout the community, such as Friends of D11 and Compassion International. She also volunteers as a volleyball coach.  Born in Albuquerque, N. M., the 6-foot-2 incoming freshman intends to major in international studies and possibly economics at DU, with the goal of one day earning a law degree.  Her parents are Kristin and Doug and she has two siblings, Grace and Ian.

Tippens, an outside hitter from Austin, Texas, has had an illustrious career both at the high school level and with USA volleyball. From Dripping Springs High School, Tippens and the Tigers were the Texas 5A state runner-up in 2014. In 2015, she was named District 25-5A First Team All-District, District 25-5A Newcomer of the Year, named to the all-american watch list, was the Hays County Dispatch Newcomer of the Year and Prep Volleyball Sophomore 79 Highest Honorable Mention, and won the Texas 5A state championship. In 2016, she was once again named to the all-american watch list, made the Volleypalooza All-Tournament Team, earned District 26-5A Most Valuable Player, TCVA All-State and Hays County Dispatch Most Valuable Player, and her team was a regional quarterfinalist.  From 2014-2017, the Tigers went undefeated in their district.  She comes to DU with 1300-plus kills, 1000-plus digs and 160-plus aces in her high school career.

“Graceyn is one of the top outside hitters in Texas high school volleyball,” said Hogan.  “She has a great all-around game, and one of the fastest arms in the country.  Graceyn has a relentless work ethic, and we are excited to develop her potential here at DU.”

As a member of the Austin Performance Volleyball team from 2011-2017, Tippens was a High Performance Future Select A1 participant, a Lonestar Classic National Qualifier champion and Show Me National Qualifier bronze medalist in 2013 and participated in USA Volleyball Nationals from 2013-2016.  In 2015, her club was the Tour of Texas Qualifier champions, and in 2016 they won the USA Volleyball bronze medal, with Tippens making the USA Volleyball National All-Tournament Team.

Academically, the 5-foot-11 incoming freshman was a four-time academic all-district selection, as well as being named academic all-state, and made the A/B Honor Roll.  At DU, Tippens intends on majoring in marketing with the goal of pursuing a career in business marketing.

Born in Sindelfingen, Germany, she is the daughter of Jodi and Mark, and has two siblings, Peyton and Tanner.

DU’s two signees will be joined by additional signees during the signing period in the spring of 2018.

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