CLEVELAND, OHIO — The Hiram College volleyball team was picked to finish second in this year’s North Coast Athletic Conference preaseason coaches poll that was released today (Monday, Aug. 22). [2011 NCAC Preseason Poll]
Hiram totaled 71 points to place second overall and received one first-place vote. Defending NCAC Tournament Champion Wittenberg University was selected as the favorite with 80 points and eight first-place votes. The College of Wooster rounded out the top three teams with 58 points.
Last year, the Terriers posted their seventh season with 20 or more victories in the last eight years. Hiram ended the 2010 campaign with a 24-10 mark, including an impressive 13-2 record in NCAC play and finished as regular season co-champs.
Hiram returns 10 letterwinners this year, and will return the majority of its roster from a year ago. Back to lead the Terriers this season will be senior All-Region outside hitter, All-NCAC and 2010 NCAC Player of the Year Shaina Bryan (South Euclid/Brush). Last fall, Bryan led the team in kills with 407 (3.34 kills per set) and had a .299 hitting percentage. She was also second in digs (395), service aces (24) and was fourth in total blocks (65). In addition, Bryan was also amongst the conference leaders in kills, hitting percentage and digs.
Also back to help lead Hiram this season is senior All-NCAC middle hitter Kristi Opfer (Garrettsville/Garfield), senior All-NCAC middle hitter Andrea Kaminsky (Canton/GlenOak) and seniors Katie Rumora (Canal Winchester), Taylor Summerfield (Warren/Howland) and Megan Woodard (Saint Leonard, Md./Calvert).
Hiram will face some tough competition early on in this season’s schedule which will feature three opponents who qualified for the 2010 NCAA Division III National Tournament, including NCAA National Champion Calvin (Mich.) College in the opening tournament of the season on Sept. 2-3. Hiram will not play its first home match of the season until Sept. 16-17 when the Terriers host the Hiram Invitational. Hiram will open NCAC play on Sept. 24 against Ohio Wesleyan University in the first of two NCAC Weekends which will also include the first meeting against Wittenberg.