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Dos Pueblos to Offer Grief Counseling After Tragic Death of Alumna Samantha Wopat

Volleyball standout, who died Sunday of an undisclosed emergency, was a member of the Stanford women's team

Santa Barbara Unified School District officials plan to have counselors in place at Dos Pueblos High School on Monday — when classes resume after spring break — to help students and staff cope with the tragic death of Samantha “Sam” Wopat, a 2010 graduate and sophomore member of the Stanford University women’s volleyball team.

Sam Wopat
Sam Wopat (Stanford University Athletics photo)

Wopat, 19, died Sunday, surrounded by family, friends and teammates, after spending a week in Stanford Hospital’s intensive care unit. She was taken to the hospital after an undisclosed medical emergency in her campus residence, the university announced this week.

Dos Pueblos High students and teachers are away this week, so plans haven’t yet been made for a school memorial, but there will be counseling support in place Monday, school district Superintendent Dave Cash said.

“I’m certain, knowing that campus and the people there, especially given the fact (her mother) Kathy is a teacher there, there will be a lot of comfort and concern — and there already has been,” Cash said.

Close family and friends held a vigil last Wednesday night at the Santa Barbara Mission while Wopat was in the ICU, and the Dos Pueblos community has been struggling with the news of her death this week.

Wopat and her twin sister, Carly, had played volleyball together since junior high school, and both joined Stanford’s team after playing at Dos Pueblos and for the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club.

Although Wopat was a student in the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy and member of the robotics team, she chose to major in English with a concentration of creative writing.

Wopat is survived by her parents, Kathy and Ron, her twin sister, Carly, and two younger brothers, Jackson and Eli. Both of her parents teach math locally — Ron at SBCC and Kathy at Dos Pueblos.

Meanwhile, the Stanford and volleyball communities are mourning the loss of a bright, young athlete. Wopat played in 25 sets as a sophomore, averaging 1.16 kills per set. She had a career high of six against Duke University in September, the month she also put up her career-high hitting percentage of .300 against the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Before enrolling at Stanford, Wopat was a member of the 2010 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team. In 2009, she participated in Thailand as a member of the U.S. Youth National Team that competed at the World Championships. She was a member of Junior Olympic teams in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

In an interview with the Stanford Daily last October, she said she had learned how important it was to have good team chemistry — on both her high school and university squads.

“I loved everyone on that team,” she said of the Chargers. “It’s sort of the same thing here — our team gets along so well, and that actually really helps on the court when you can turn to someone and completely trust them.”

Information about a memorial to celebrate her life will be shared when it becomes available.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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