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The 2014 Hollins volleyball season started with optimism and excitement. After completing a tremendous spring and preseason training camp, a Hollins team that returned all six starters as well as their libero and key reserves sought to repeat what they had accomplished three years ago: make the end- of-season, eight-team, ODAC Tournament. The senior class came into their final campaign looking to be only the second group of Hollins volleyballers to play in two ODAC Tournaments during their career.
Hollins started the year playing eight competitive road matches over the season’s first 10 days. Four of those matches were in the 2014 Cougar Classic, and the team traveled to North Carolina to play the other four in the Greensboro Tournament. Hollins opened up the home portion of their schedule with a thrilling, five-set victory over Ferrum College. The team took part in the Maroon Classic tournament hosted by Roanoke College before starting play in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
Hollins struggled during ODAC play, taking on the conference’s three best teams in a five-day stretch. Highlighting this year’s home schedule was a "Pink Night" to raise awareness for breast cancer research and "Senior Night" in mid-October. Conference play ended with a seven-match road trip. After completing ODAC play, Hollins finished the 2014 season with a tri-match at Bluefield State. After an up- and-down season, the team concluded the year on a high note with a 3-0 sweep of Bluefield College.
Despite failing to earn a berth in the ODAC Tournament, Hollins will return a deep and talented core of players. They will enter the 2015 season having gained a great deal of experience and growth.
2014 Team Highlights:
Lauren Hays '15 - Finished eighth in the ODAC with 72 total blocks. She placed eighth in solo blocks (19) and seventh in assisted blocks (53). The senior was ranked 14th with 268 kills and 13th in the league with 2.55 kills per set played.
Lela Moore '16 – Finished her season ranked seventh in the conference with 627 assists. The junior setter ranked eighth in the ODAC with 6.33 assists per set. Moore led the team in assists and service aces, and was fourth in digs.
Haley Ortiz '16 – Played libero all season and led the team with 470 digs, ranking her third in the ODAC in that category. Ortiz, a junior, earned All Tournament Team honors at the Greensboro Tournament and was named Hollins Student-Athlete of the Week for her play.
The 2014 Hollins volleyball team enters the new season with high expectations after a campaign last year that saw a young team make great strides. Hollins will return eight of their nine players from last season, including every starter. After going through a season with no seniors, this new edition of Hollins volleyball will be well-seasoned, and after adding six new faces, the team will have much more talent and depth.
Lauren Hays '15 and Jessie Deese '15 will enter their final season in a Hollins uniform, giving the program valuable leadership. The versatile Deese can play multiple positions while Hays returns as the team leader in attacks and kills.
Lela Moore '16 enters her third season as the primary setter and is on pace to hand out more assists than any Hollins volleyball player in recent history. Rikki Martinez '16 and Haley Ortiz '16 each split time last season as the libero and an outside hitter, while each excelled at their dual positions. Emily Lowther '16 is coming off a solid season as a defensive specialist who can also handle the opposite side duties and Rachel Hertzler '17 returns for her second season as a reserve. Jordan Persinger '16 returns for her third season with Hollins and will be leaned upon heavily as she and Hays will be the primary size at net.
Head Coach Bill Shook was able to add six newcomers to his experienced squad. Five first-years and a junior make up this group of fresh faces that will provide depth to the roster. With 14 players, Shook will look to avoid some of the late-match fatigue that the team experienced last season.
Hollins will kick off their season with a pair of tournaments before starting dual match competition. The team will open the season by playing four matches at the 2014 Cougar Classic, hosted by Averett University, before traveling to Greensboro College for another tournament the following weekend. Hollins will open their home schedule when Ferrum College comes to Roanoke for a match on September 7. The ODAC portion of the schedule will begin with a home match against Emory & Henry on September 16. It will be the first of the team's 11 ODAC matches as the team looks to qualify for the season-ending conference tournament.