Needham High senior volleyball captain Ellie Streeper racks up accolades ahead of state tournament


Ellie Streeper loves to “get high”. In the yard or at the gym.

It was born from scientists playing volleyball.

Naturally, she plays all year round and plans to major in biology.

The courtyard is his laboratory.

Additionally, Needham High’s senior captain is a writing teacher, member of the National Honor Society, and volunteer at a cat shelter. At the end of the summer, she was honored at Fenway Park in a ceremony for a scholarship she won. But only her photo made an appearance – Streeper was back home to attend a preseason volleyball camp.

Needham senior Ellie Streeper, 17, was training with the rest of the Rockets volleyball team on October 27, 2021. She is one of four New England students to receive the scholarship. Triple Impact of the Positive Coaching Alliance.

The love for the sport dates back years and is played out in the family’s backyard, where a net is set up for games or the Streepers can simply pass the ball back and forth, an act called soaring.

“We try to play on it as soon as it gets warm in the spring,” says Ellie, “and as long as we can tolerate the cold in the fall.”

Her name appeared – in all capitals – on a notice board in Fenway at a Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) event as one of eight finalists from New England for the program’s Triple Impact Scholarship. . Streeper later became one of 100 national and four New England winners selected for the award, which recognizes “a student-athlete’s commitment to improving themselves, their teammates and the game, throughout pandemic ”.

“I am very proud and grateful for the scholarship,” she said.

Streeper also attends college training clinics and, on October 27, was named by the American Volleyball Coaches Association as one of its “Best and Brightest,” an honor bestowed on student-athletes who excel on and off the field.

Due to COVID-19, last year’s winter season was pushed back to late spring and did not include a state playoff tournament. Still, Streeper was motivated to help carry the momentum from an undefeated State Championship season in 2019 into what turned into a 12-0 Fall II season.

Ellie Streeper, elder from Needham, 17, served in volleyball practice on October 27, 2021. She is one of four New England students to receive the Triple Impact Scholarship from the Positive Coaching Alliance.

“Ellie was motivated to continue to help our team get stronger,” said Needham coach Courtney Todesco. “She was instrumental in off-season training, planning for the 2021 season and playing as much volleyball as she could with her teammates.”

Streeper’s mother, Abby Cheng, played Division I volleyball in the state of Arkansas and helped the team achieve an academic record of 43 wins in 1989. She is currently a program director and mentor specialist. career for science students at UMass-Boston.

Ellie’s father, Ryan, is a researcher at the Novartis Biomedical Research Institutes and also plays volleyball.

Her parents’ work has rubbed off on Ellie, who aspires to use biology “to solve environmental and medical problems.”

She also started playing volleyball at a young age, joining the SMASH club program in sixth grade before becoming a rare freshman at Needham High. She started out as a Libero before moving on to the outside hitter this season.

Streeper was named last year as the Massachusetts Volleyball Coaches Association (MAVCA) Division 1 All-Star and was a two-time Bay State Conference All-Star. After the Rockets beat Weymouth 3-2 on October 28 on senior night to end a regular season 17-1, Streeper’s four-year record with the NHS stands at 65-5.

His current take, however, is on the future, which includes his sophomore sister and varsity player, Izzy, and another run for a state title.

Ellie Streeper, 17, of Needham, applauded for a good point as she and her volleyball teammates performed exercises on October 27, 2021. She is one of four New England students to receive the Triple Impact scholarship from the Positive Coaching Alliance.

Streeper recently created an “open gym” practice where young players can work with the college on skill-specific aspects.

“She’s usually the first in the gym and the last to go,” Todesco said. “She’s a great captain and really sets an example. Ellie also pays attention to the little things – if the net isn’t in place, she’ll make sure to go set it up, if any balls are left out, she’ll pick them up, etc.

This week, the stakes are accelerating. It’s playoff time. Streeper and the Rockets are looking for another deep run. But the seasoned veteran isn’t looking too far ahead.

“We’re definitely hungry for another state championship,” Streeper said, “but we really want to play one game at a time and focus and play our best.”

Follow Tim Dumas on Twitter: @TimDumas.