June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Koons to play for Eastern Kentucky

Brian Dulik

The Gazette

WADSWORTH — When Ciera Koons was a freshman at Wadsworth, she told Grizzlies coach Jill Quayle her goal was to play NCAA Division I volleyball.

Her dream has come true.

Koons has accepted a full athletic scholarship from Eastern Kentucky University, where she will continue her career as a middle hitter in 2014.

“I had quite a few other (D-I) scholarship offers, but once I stepped on the campus, everything seemed perfect,” the 6-foot junior said. “I loved the girls on the team, the coaches, the academics offered, really everything about Eastern Kentucky.

“The campus itself (in Richmond, Ky.) is also really beautiful, so I’m super excited to know I’ll be playing volleyball there in a year.”

An ultra-athletic player at the net, Koons is coming off a breakthrough season for three-time defending Suburban League champion Wadsworth.

The All-Gazette selection led Medina County in blocks for the second year in a row, totaling 117 for an average of 1.48 per game. She also collected 139 kills and 224 serve attempts while pacing the Grizzlies in kill efficiency at .245.

Koons proved she was a clutch performer in the Barberton D-I District championship, amassing a career-high 19 kills and a county postseason-record 13 blocks in leading Wadsworth past Copley.

“Ciera is very motivated and driven to succeed, so I’m obviously very proud of her for committing to Eastern Kentucky,” Quayle said. “Her blocking ability is her most tenacious skill because she’s extremely disciplined with her footwork. Her long arms and legs help, too.”

Koons plans on majoring in history and minoring in broadcasting, but could add a second minor in art.

“It’s such a relief to have this whole recruiting process decided,” she said. “Knowing I’ll be at a school that is less than a five-hour drive from home is another positive, so my family will be able to watch me play.”

A longtime member of the Ohio Valley Conference, the Colonels have won 16 combined regular-season and tournament championships.

Coach Lori Duncan’s roster also includes two familiar freshmen in former Gazette MVP Ally Peters of Medina, who recently transferred from Alabama-Birmingham, and Bay graduate Rachel Vick.

Eastern Kentucky’s league schedule includes matches in Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee, but Koons views that as a positive.

She spent this winter playing Junior Olympic volleyball for an AVC national team, which took her to Las Vegas and Philadelphia, among other distant locations.

“It was a lot of fun going to different places, playing with and against so many great players,” Koons said. “It was an adventure, just like I’m sure playing at Eastern Kentucky will be for me.”

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.