The ORU volleyball team is prepping for its 13th season under Head Coach Sheera Sirola who has watched the program grow since she was an ORU freshman in 1994.
“Volleyball was not a big deal in the U.S.; most of it was basketball and football,” said Sirola. “So when international kids started coming here to the school, our level was almost at the level of the Top 25 schools and that you can see in ’95, we ended up in the lite Eight.”
Sirola is pleased with what the program has accomplished so far. The team won the Summit League tournament in 2006, and they have since come in 2nd, 3rd and 4th being their best finishes.
Wins are not the only rewarding thing for Sirola. Players having success off the court is just as important to her.
“Seeing kids graduating and becoming good people, helping others and being productive members of society has been the best part so far,” said Sirola.
Golden Eagle fans can expect to see a few new faces this season as the team features six newcomers, but also has eight players returning.
“We really added more youngsters in a defensive spot,” Sirola said. “They’re blending great. If you look at them on the court, you can’t really see who is sophomore, who is freshman, who is junior or senior. It’s a great mix of kids.”
Three players to watch are seniors Jovana Poljasevic, Sadie Schaffner and 2014 Summit League Freshman of the Year Laura Milos.
“I have been making sure that I am mentally prepared, first of all,” Schaffner said. “I want to be focused and disciplined and be a positive energy on the team so we can have lots of enthusiasm and motivation.”
The team will start the season at the Magnolia Invitational on Aug. 28. The team will face Ole Miss, Northwestern State and Tennessee State.
The first home game is Wednesday, Sept. 6 against Texas-Arlington at the Aerobics Center at 7 p.m.
“This year should be probably our best year in the last couple years,” said Sirola. “I’m looking forward to it.”
The Golden Eagles will host the annual Blue and Gold Scrimmage at the AC on Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. This will be the first opportunity for fans to watch the team play before they begin their regular season schedule. Admission is free.
“We would love for everyone to come and show up at the home games,” said Schaffner. “I think the more people there are, the more enthusiasm and energy there is in the atmosphere.”