Maggie Roper did everything imaginable to help put Buford High volleyball on the map these past four seasons. Still a relatively new program when she stepped on the court in 2010, she developed herself into an All-State player in 2013, and also set most of the Lady Wolves’ career and single-season records.
“Maggie was just a special player her entire career,” Buford coach Hadli Daniels said. “It seems that everything comes natural to her with blocks, defense, hitting and serves.”
For her efforts, Roper is The Times Volleyball Player of the Year.
As a senior, the outside hitter Roper, who will play at Georgia College & State University next season, capped her career with 354 kills, 82 aces and 282 digs for the fourth-place finishers in Class AAA this past season. Her school records include 1,329 kills and aces with 302, along with 1,094 career digs. She holds the top three spots for
Buford in single-season kills, total kills in a game and single-match kills.
With her versatility, Daniels knew that whatever spot Roper lined up, she’d have an edge. Roper, who stands 5 foot 10, has a powerful serve, hits with power and accuracy, and can defend the net with the best. The results for the Lady Wolves followed her leadership. In 2013, Buford took third in a challenging Area 5-AAA — against state champion St. Pius X and runner-up Blessed Trinity — and the Lady Wolves also won the Gwinnett County championship against primarily Class AAAAAA and private school programs.
Roper said that winning the county tournament was the highlight with wins against Mountain View, Greater Atlanta Christian, Wesleyan and a three-set victory against North Gwinnett in the finals.
“That was so much fun to win the Gwinnett Championship since all the other schools are so big,” said Roper, who is also the school record holder in the pole vault at 10 feet.
Success in volleyball for Roper is the result of a tremendous amount of work. The high school season is just part of why she became an All-State player. Once the high school season ends, she teams up with club program ProLink Atlanta for a challenging circuit through July.
Last summer, Roper competed with the national Under-18 squad with events all over the country.
Roper also had the experience of helping coach a couple of incoming freshmen for Buford — who played for the Pro Link 15s team — and would transition into starters for the Lady Wolves in 2013. She said that experience helped her become more of a leader for Buford in her approach to molding and working with young players in match play and also in practice.
Daniels’ first year as Buford coach was when Roper was an eighth grader in 2009. She had no doubts that Roper would fill an immediate role with the varsity program when the young standout moved into high school. The Buford coach was absolutely right.
It’s easy to understand why Roper is so successful in sports: it runs in the family. Her older sister, Ansley, was on Buford’s first team in 2007. Her brother, Justin, was Buford’s quarterback and went on to a successful college career at the University of Montana after transferring from Oregon.
Maggie’s parents were both college athletes at Georgia Tech. Her father Brad played football, and mother Donna played basketball.
“We’ve always been very competitive in sports,” Roper said. “I’ve just always wanted to do my best and succeed.”
Roper first got interested in volleyball because of her older sister, and started playing at 13. After trying other sports briefly, like soccer, she knew volleyball was the right fit.
“I like that volleyball is so fast paced and you get to win a point every time the ball is served,” said Roper, who was named All-Area and All-County in four straight seasons.