Christina Volpe, who led Batavia Notre Dame to its first girls basketball state championship, died Monday at the age of 34.
Volpe suffered cardiac arrest at her home in Greenville, S.C., according to her sister, Annemarie Sheppard, of Rochester. The cause of the heart’s stoppage is not known, Sheppard said.
“They just don’t know,” Sheppard said of the doctors. ”She was healthy, worked out four times a week. Never had anything physically, so it was very out of the blue, shocking.”
Michael Rapone, an assistant principal, athletic director and longtime coach at Batavia Notre Dame, watched Volpe and his daughter Melissa, move through the small, private school in Genesee County, as good friends before their graduations in 1999.
“She really was a special person, a nice person,” Rapone said. “I don’t like to talk in absolutes, but I can say that she is the best female athlete we’ve ever had.”
Volpe starred in volleyball and basketball. She led the Fighting Irish on a historic run during her senior season, as Batavia Notre Dame won its first state championship in girls basketball. Batavia Notre Dame then became the only girls team in Section V history to go on and win a girls state Federation title. She’s a member of the Section V’s Hall of Fame
“Her parents taught at Saint Joseph Catholic in Batavia for more than 20 years,” Rapone said. “It’s felt through the entire Catholic-school community here in Batavia.
“Not only was she a part of it, but her parents were too. It’s devastating.”