HIRAM, OHIO — The Hiram College volleyball team has had its share of success in recent years including three straight trips to the NCAA Division III National Tournament, eight consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament appearances, a NCAC Tournament title, and has advanced to the conference tournament championship match in five of the last eight seasons. The 2008 Terriers will look to continue that success this fall with a balanced combination of veterans and newcomers.
Last season, Hiram recorded its fifth straight season with 20 or more wins, posting 28 victories and finishing 28-5 overall. During the last five seasons, the Terriers have recorded an impressive 139-35 mark for an equally impressive .799 winning percentage. Hiram also ended the 2007 season second in the conference with a 12-2 record and were the runners-up in the NCAC Tournament. For their efforts, the Terriers earned an at-large bid to the 2007 NCAA Division III National Tournament and advanced to the second round, the farthest the Terriers have gone in NCAA postseason play.
Head Coach Ellen Dempsey, who is the winningest coach in program history with a 174-66 record at Hiram and a 341-212 overall record, will begin her eighth season coaching the Terriers and 16th overall in 2008. The three-time NCAC Coach-of-the-Year has helped make the Hiram Volleyball program one of the best in all of Division III.
“Our success in recent years has been a tribute to the caliber of players that have come through our program,” said Dempsey. “Being successful is something that we expect and work hard to achieve. Hiram’s success is a credit to te dedication and passion our players have for volleyball.”
Missing from the roster this fall will be AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) All-American setter/outside hitter Megan Taylor who ended a stellar four-year career in 2007. In addition to being an All-American, Taylor was also a two-time AVCA All-Region player, four-time All-NCAC award winner, including three consecutive first-team selections and is the school all-time leader in set assists (4,852). Also gone is graduated senior Megan Mulligan who led the team in blocks last season with 85 (28 solo and 57 assists) fourth in kills at 237.
“Both Megan Taylor and Megan Mulligan had outstanding careers and were invaluable teammates,” said Dempsey. “Both played a pivotal role in our team’s success last year and they will be missed this fall.”
Hiram returns only one senior in All-NCAC outside hitter Sarah Schoenhagen (Cleveland Heights/Gilmour). In 2007, she led the team in kills with 364 (3.25 kills per game) and had a .284 hitting percentage. Schoenhagen also is a key player defensively after ending last season third on the team in blocks with 53 (16 solo and 37 assists).
“Sarah will be a major player and leader this year,” stated Dempsey. “She has strong finishing abilities that could make her one of the top outside hitters in the conference.”
Joining Schoenhagen will be juniors Charley McQueary (Oregon/Clay), Randa Jackson (South Euclid/Brush), Brittany Mayle (Mantua/Crestwood) and Lauren London (Pittsburgh, Pa./Avonworth).
Both McQueary and Jackson were amongst the team leaders defensively with McQueary tallying 308 digs (2.80 digs per game) and Jackson contributing 62 blocks (11 solo and 57 assists). McQueary led the team in service aces with 32 while Jackson added 191 kills (1.71 k/g.). Mayle finished second in assists last year with 427 (4.80 assists per game) and added 98 digs (1.10 d/g.). London came off the bench and recorded 33 kills (0.97 k/g.) and 28 digs (0.82 d/g.).
Also returning in 2008 are sophomores Alyssa Coundourides (Brunswick/Parma-Padua Franciscan), Ashley Quay (Alliance), and Angela Heagy (Cranberry Township, Pa./Seneca Valley).
Coundourides saw the most playing time as a freshman and will play a significant role again this fall. Coundourides ended her “rookie” campaign third on the team in assists with 377, but was second in assists per game averaging 5.31. She also tallied 15 service aces and 65 digs.
“Our juniors and sophomores will obviously be key to our team being successful this season,” said Dempsey. “They have all gained a year or another year of experience that will help us contend for a possible championship. But more importantly, they will help mentor our newcomers learn or continue to improve in all aspects of the game.”
In addition to its core of returning players, Hiram will welcome eight newcomers to the team this fall.
“We had a strong recruiting year this off-season,” said Dempsey. “All our newcomers will bring their individual expertise and talent to the program and some could make an immediate impact for us this season. With our group of returning players and the addition of our newcomers, the future for the Hiram volleyball program looks pretty good.”
The Hiram volleyball team will officially begin the 2008 season on Friday-Saturday, Aug. 29-30 at the Ohio Northern University Invitational. The Terriers will play against Calvin (Mich.) College on Friday in the season opener at 3 p.m. followed by a matchup against the College of Mount St. Joseph at 5:30 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact Hiram College Sports Information Director Jeff Hoedt by phone at (330) 569-5495, by FAX at (330) 569-5392 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.