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Hall of Fame Inductions, Tip-Off Tourney on Tap

Wed, 12/06/2023 - 17:12
Kim Valverde-Solis, a four-time all-county player when a student here, went on to play for two national champion collegiate volleyball teams.
Durell Godfrey

Three athletes, Earl Hopson (class of 1995), Erin Bock Abran (2001), and Kim Valverde-Solis (2011), as well as the 1953-54 boys basketball team, are to be inducted into East Hampton High School’s Hall of Fame Saturday in ceremonies that are to take place in the high school’s auditorium at 10:30 a.m., following a breakfast at 9 in the cafeteria.

The Hall of Fame ceremonies coincide with the second-day games of the Kendall Madison Tip-Off tournament that begins tomorrow in the high school gym, with Bridgehampton’s Killer Bees versus Mattituck at 5 p.m., and East Hampton and the Ross School playing at 7. No matter what happens in tomorrow’s games, East Hampton will play at noon on Saturday, either in the championship game or in the consolation game.

Bridgehampton, with Alex Davis, Jai Feaster, and Sae’vion Ward, sophomores who started last year, and Mikhail Feaster, Jai’s older brother, promises to be impressive. East Hampton is returning its guards, Mike Locascio and Liam Fowkes, who can be deadly from 3-point range, and will have an agile 6-foot-4 senior, Cash Muse, playing down low.

As for the Hall of Famers, Hopson, an East Hampton Town Police Department retiree, captained an extraordinary 8-2 Wing-T football team coached by David MacGarva that in 1994 went all the way to a county championship game, the first East Hampton football team to do so in 13 years. Hopson was a triple threat with his kickoff and punt returns, pass-catching, and cornerbacking. As a first-year senior in 1995, he placed fourth in the county long jump with a leap of 21 feet 4 inches, a feat that left him regretting that he had not gone out for spring track earlier in his high school career.

Erin Bock Abran was all-county in field hockey and softball, though softball was her forte. In her senior year, the team, coached by Lou Reale and with Abran playing third base, went undefeated in league play, the first softball team here to do so. Moreover, it won the school’s first softball county championship, defeating Babylon 3-2 in 12 innings. That team went on to win the Long Island championship, defeating Island Trees 5-2, a game in which Bock, a clutch hitter, drove in the fourth and fifth runs.

Valverde-Solis, a volleyball libero whose 195 service aces in a single season remains a school record, as do her 1,575 career digs, went on to play with top college teams, namely Florida’s Hillsborough Community College and Tampa University, that vied for national women’s volleyball championships. With Valverde-Solis as its libero, Hillsborough won a national junior college championship in 2014. She was a defensive specialist on Tampa University teams that won the national Division II championship in 2015 and was the national runner-up in 2016.

The team she played on here in her junior and senior years went undefeated in league play, advanced to the county final in each of those years, 2009 and 2010, and won a Long Island championship in 2009. Kathy McGeehan, the team’s coach, said at the time, “We’ve gone 77-15 since Kim’s been our libero.” Aside from her mean jump serve, Valverde-Solis was the team’s chief serve returner and could put the ball on the floor from midcourt. The honoree received an all-American honorable mention as a senior, was named to the all-county team for the fourth time, and was cited as the county’s defensive player of the year.

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