The Hiram College volleyball team continued its string of successful seasons in 2013, finishing with a 22-10 overall record. The Terriers also made their twelfth straight appearance in the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament, where they advanced to the tournament championship match for the eleventh time in the past 12 years. Hiram recorded its fifth-straight 20-win season and tenth year with 20-plus victories in the last 11 seasons.
The Terriers plan on making a serious run at a NCAC Championship in 2014. Hiram returns five NCAC All-Conference players from the last two seasons.
“We have high expectations of our returning All-Conference players,” said head coach Scott Carter. “We will rely on their talent and experience to guide us as we continue to develop our identity as a championship-caliber team. We have solid depth in every position, and that will play a critical part in our success this season. Every practice will be energetic and highly competitive. Our depth will allow many options throughout the season and will keep us focused on growth by being internally competitive on a daily basis.”
The 2014 schedule begins with a few NCAA-caliber and regionally ranked opponents at the SUNY Cortland Red Dragon Classic from Aug. 29-30, in Cortland, N.Y. The Terriers will then stay closer to home, competing in the Marcia French Invitational held at Case Western University. Hiram’s home opener will be on Sept. 13, when the Terriers will host Hilbert College and Marietta College, before starting the NCAC schedule on Sept. 20 against Kenyon College in Gambier, OH.
“We have put together a very challenging and diverse schedule with the intention of preparing the team to compete for a NCAC Championship and a berth to the NCAA Tournament,” added Carter. “We are looking to provide opportunities early to gain the confidence and focus necessary to be competitive at the national level”.
The offense will be led by senior setter Tierra Moore. Moore earned her first All-Conference award in 2012. That season, she led the team in set assists with 1,246 (10.56 a/s). Her 1,246 assists that season ranked fourth in program history. In addition, her assists-per-set average (10.56) was 17th best in all of Division III and third in the NCAC. To go along with setting the offense, Moore also had 71 kills with a team-high .390 hitting percentage. She was tied for fourth on the team in service aces (20), was amongst the team leaders in digs with 230 (1.95 d/s), and third in total blocks (63). Moore’s spectacular 2013 season came off what could have been a career ending injury. She broke her foot with five weeks left in the 2012 season and had surgery to remove an un-repairable bone. Despite the adversity, Moore led the Terrier offense to a .224 hitting percentage (.255 in conference) which ranked second in the NCAC and 48th in the country. Hiram finished second in the NCAC in kills per set, and Moore was 2nd in the NCAC in assists per set.
Moore will have an abundance of All-Conference attackers to deliver the ball to this season, starting with Sophomore American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Great Lakes Region selection, Marissa Jay (Parma/Padua Franciscan). Jay became the eleventh player, and first freshman in program history, to garner All-Region accolades. In addition, Jay completed a standout freshman season as a first-team All-Conference selection as well as being tabbed NCAC Newcomer of the Year. Jay led the Terriers and the NCAC in kills with 428 (3.75 kills per set) while posting a .255 hitting percentage. Her 428 kills were tied for third-most in program history in a single season. She finished with double-digit kill totals in all but six matches last season, including five matches with 20 or more kills. She ended the season with 1,062 attempts which set a Hiram and NCAC single-season record for attempts in the 25-point scoring format. She was also amongst the team leaders in total blocks with 73, which rank third most on the team. In addition, Jay added 67 digs, nine set assists and two service aces.