The University of Cincinnati Clermont College Cougars varsity women’s volleyball team began regular-season play on Aug. 30. The Red and Black defeated visiting Southern State Community College 30-19, 30-19, 30-19 a very rare three-game matching score.
The Cougars are looking to build upon the success they achieved last year. The Red and Black finished fifth in the nation in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s (USCAA) final rankings. The Clermont countians also qualified for the first time for the USCAA National Championship Tournament. In addition to these achievements, the Cougars won their third consecutive Ohio Regional Campus Conference (ORCC) West Division championship.
“This year’s team should again be very competitive for a fourth ORCC crown and looks to return to Fort Wayne (Ind.) for the national tournament,” said Clermont’s head coach Joe Harpring.
For Harpring this will be his fifth season at the helm of the women’s volleyball program at UC Clermont. He first became a member of the coaching staff as a varsity assistant in 2001. His teams have earned a 43-18 record over the past four seasons. Before coaching at Clermont, he was a Junior Olympic volleyball coach for 14 years and has a Level II certification from the United States Volleyball Coaching Accredation Program. He is a member of the UC Clermont Athletic Hall of Fame.
The current edition of the Cougars has a strong corps of veterans. Amanda Sevier, a Glen Este High School graduate, is a senior defensive specialist who was selected to the first team of the ORCC all-stars. Others include junior libero Lauren Biel, a graduate of Lakota West High School; sophomore outside hitter Katie Brooks, a graduate of Western Brown Senior High; sophomore middle hitter Kelley Koon, a graduate of Miamisburg High School; sophomore setter Julia Schulte, an Anderson High grad; and sophomore defensive specialist Desi Ingels, a Western Brown grad.
The team's success has helped promote the program and enabled Harpring to recruit additional local outstanding talent. Some of the standouts joining the Red and Black for the first time will be middle hitter Lynn Abbinante of Western Brown, a member of an outstanding family of athletes who played during their prep days at Bethel-Tate and Amelia high schools. Outside hitter Jaci Stewart is from Blanchester, middle/outside hitter Jaimie Martin is from Turpin, and outside hitter Denay Detherage is from Lakota West. This quartet received numerous honors during their stellar high school sports careers.
Meagan Ooten is an assistant coach. The Felicity High School graduate is a member of the Clermont College Athletic Hall of Fame. She earned degrees at UC Clermont in Computer Information Systems and Interactive Multimedia Web Design. She currently works for the school in the Enrollment/Student Services office. She was an outside and middle hitter for the Cougars and was best known for her passing ability. She was all-ORCC twice and was named as UC Clermont's Female Athlete of the Year in 2004.
Sonja Crockett is an assistant coach. She was an outside hitter and middle blocker for the Norse volleyball team of Northern Kentucky University where she received awards for blocking and best kill percentage.
Peggy Hager, a Glen Este High School graduate, is the team's Academic Advisor. She is an associate professor of mathematics at the school. Her many years of dedicated and hard work to the Cougar athletic program earned her a berth in the UC Clermont Athletic Hall of Fame.
"The level of competition we will see should help us be ready for tournament play in October. We look forward to the challenge and the opportunity to bring exciting volleyball to our fans in the 'Cougardome,'" said Harpring.
One of the highlights of the upcoming campaign will be the Second Annual Cougar Classic tri-match.
The UC Clermont Cougars volleyball schedule is as follows:
Sept. 6 Cincinnati Christian University, Sept. 11 at Wilmington College, Sept. 12 at Ohio University-Chillicothe, Sept. 15 UC Clermont Cougar Classic (Indiana University-East and Ohio State University-Marion are the participating teams), Sept. 19 at Miami University-Middletown, Sept. 22 at Miami University-Hamilton, Sept. 23 at Ohio State- Marion Invitational (with Rochester, Mi., College), Sept. 26 Kentucky State University, Sept. 28 at Indiana University-East, Sept. 29 at Ohio State University-Lima, Sept. 30 Ohio University-Chillicothe, Oct. 3 Miami University-Middletown, Oct. 6 Ohio State University-Lima, Oct. 10 at Southern State Community College, Oct. 13 Miami University-Hamilton, Oct. 17 at Kentucky State University, Oct. 21 & 22 ORCC State Tournament, Oct. 23 at Cincinnati Christian University, and Oct. 27 ORCC State Tournament championship finale.