The Hiram College volleyball team finished NCAC Championship Tournament action on Saturday, claiming second place after defeating DePauw University, 3-2, and falling to Wittenberg University in the title match.
Hiram earned their way into the title game by defeating second-seeded DePauw in a five-set thriller.
The win over the Tigers marked the first for Hiram since 2011. Hiram earned the victory by taking sets two (25-18), three (25-23) and five (15-11).
Despite dropping the first set of the day, the Terriers stormed back in set two. Hiram forced both DePauw timeouts within the first 12 points, running out to a 12-5 advantage.
Kiara Franks was key to the run, posting three of her team-high 10 kills in the swing. The Hiram lead would swell to as many as 10 (19-9), before the Tigers sliced into the advantage.
Franks finished the second set off with a kill, giving her four in the second game, and tying the match at 1-1.
Hiram found themselves trailing 12-10 in the second set, before rattling off seven-consecutive points to take a 17-12 lead.
The Terriers ran the lead all the way to 24-15 before DePauw made things interesting. The Tigers posted eight-consecutive points, forcing both Hiram timeouts and trimming the lead down to 24-23.
Out of their last timeout, Madison Fortune put the set away, giving Hiram the 25-23 win and pushing the Terriers one set victory away from reaching their first title game since 2013.
DePauw responded in the fourth set, snagging the game 25-20, and forcing a decisive fifth set.
Needing just one point to win the match, the Terriers looked to Franks, who finished the match with her 10th kill, giving Hiram the victory.
Franks and Martin controlled the match from the middle of the floor as the duo combined for 20 kills. Martin hit .320 while adding four blocks and six digs.
The victory for the Terriers moved them to the NCAC Championship game, where they squared off with Wittenberg University.
Back in the championship game for the first time in five years, Hiram fell to the Tigers in straight sets.
Wittenberg came into the game ranked third in the Nation by the American Volleyball Coaches' Association (AVCA).
The Terriers had opportunities throughout the match, leading in the mid stages of each set. In both the first and second sets, Hiram found themselves knotted with the defending conference champs, 19-19.
In the opening set, Wittenberg outscored the Terriers 6-2 over the final points to snag set one, 25-21.
In set two, Hiram held a 19-17 lead before the Tigers came storming back with an 8-1 run to end the set and take a 2-0 advantage.
Hiram continued to hang tough in the third set of the match, knotting the game at 14-14 thanks to a kill by Fortune. Wittenberg, however used a quick, 5-2, run to put some distance between themselves and Hiram, and would ride that momentum to a five-point win in the final set.
In their first championship-game experience, both Fortune and Walker finished with 10 kills. Cole added nine while Hoffman finished with 30 assists.
Hiram concluded the season with an overall record of 23-5, marking the fourth time in school history that the team sported a winning percentage of over .800.