Julie Popp Hopkins takes over reins at Marist

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Marist’s new girls volleyball coach isn’t lacking in leadership skills.

Julie Popp Hopkins was a team captain during her career as a player at Queen of Peace and UIC, and the team MVP in both of her senior seasons.

Under her guidance, Latin won back-to-back Independent School League titles in 2011 and 2012, and Hopkins was chosen both times as the conference Coach of the Year.

She’s honed her craft alongside Mother McAuley coach Jen DeJarld as part of the staff at Michio volleyball club, and has also served as an assistant coach with the St. Rita boys volleyball program.

“We’re excited,” Marist athletic director Bob Lim said on Friday. “She’s a young head coach (29), she’s got a lot of energy, and she’s a South Sider, so she knows the lay of the land a little bit. We’re confident that she’s going to do some good things here.”

Hopkins replaces Natalie Holder, who in the 11-year history of the RedHawks program posted a 314-80 record, winning eight regionals, two sectionals and one supersectional. Her 2011 team was 37-3 and finished fourth in Class 4A.

“It’s a real testament to Marist and Natalie,” Hopkins said of Holder’s accomplishments. “She did an amazing job in keeping a solid program through the years. Now I’m looking forward to putting together a strong, winning program.

“Marist is everything I was looking for, from the family [atmosphere] to the education, to the coaches. When I had a chance to sit down with Bob Lim and [principal] Larry Tucker, it was clear that they had everything here that I was looking for. It’s very exciting.”

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