Success isn't a new idea for Oral Roberts University Volleyball Head Coach Sheera Sirola, a member of the ORU Hall of Fame Class of 2003. After putting together one of the most decorated playing careers in the history of ORU, Sirola starts her 15th season at the helm of her alma mater. She previously served as an assistant coach with the Golden Eagles from 1998-2002 and was a student assistant from 1996-97.
Having been a part of the Golden Eagles program for nearly two decades, Sirola has played an integral role through the volleyball team's banner years. ORU has amassed a stellar 478-254 (.653) record during her 23 years as a player and a coach. Sirola helped lead ORU to eight-straight NCAA Tournaments from 1995-2002, and her record as head coach stands at 255-179 (.588).
Since Sirola took over as head coach in 2003, the Golden Eagles have collected all-conference accolades 36 times, including 19 selections to the first team, and had 13 named to the All-Summit League Freshman Team.
Sirola led the Golden Eagles to a 17-15 mark in 2016 and earned a spot in a conference tournament for the fifth-consecutive year behind an 8-8 league mark. The team capped the year ranked second in the nation in service aces (224) and service aces per set (1.93) with junior Laura Milos leading the way averaging a NCAA-best 0.74 aces per set. Milos went on to land her third all-region honor from the AVCA and was an All-Summit League selection for the third time breaking the conference record for single-season kills totaling 631, while Bri Greenlee and Taylan Nero were honored on the Summit League All-Freshman Team. Coach Sirola picked up her 250th-career victory in a sweep at Fort Wayne October 15, 2016, extending her program-best win total.
ORU finished the 2015 season 14-16 overall and 8-8 in Summit League play before suffering a first round exit in the postseason tournament. Milos captured the program’s fifth AVCA All-Region honor and broke Sirola’s single-game service ace record on Oct. 25, 2015 against South Dakota State. Milos also was honored by The Summit League being named to the All-Conference First Team with teammate Lucija Bojanjac.
Following two seasons in the Southland Conference, Sirola led ORU back to the Summit League in 2014. She currently has the conference's second-highest career win total (216) and second-most league wins (124). The 2014 season saw an early highlight with a five-set victory over SEC foe Arkansas in Fayetteville and the Golden Eagles went on to win six of their final 10 games to finish 9-7 in league play and 15-15 overall. Milos gave Coach Sirola her 10th individual conference award winner being named Summit League Freshman of the Year. Milos also was tabbed All-League First Team and to the All-Freshman Team with Lucija Bojanjac, while Sara Pope earned All-Summit League Honorable Mention accolades.
A milestone year for Sirola came in 2013 as the Golden Eagles went 22-7 with a 14-4 Southland Conference record. Already the program's career victories leader, Sirola became the first ORU head coach to win 200 matches in a five-set victory over Stephen F. Austin October 3, 2013. With 14 wins in 18 conference games, Sirola's .778 SLC winning percentage was tops among ORU clubs in 2013.
Under Sirola's tutelage, the 2013 senior class ranks as one of the finest to ever come through the ORU program. Bruna Silva ended her tenure as a two-time conference player of the year and ranks second in program history in digs, while Laura Taylor graduated as ORU's career leader in assists. Collectively, ORU's 2013 seniors combined for 11 postseason awards and won 71 matches in four seasons.
Sirola battled a slew of adversity in 2012, coaching ORU to a 17-15 record and reached the finals of the Southland Conference Tournament in its first season as league members. A brutal early-season schedule and a rash of injuries left the Golden Eagles with an 8-12 record on October 13. Sirola rallied her troops, as ORU went 9-2 over their next 11 matches, including upset victories over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Sam Houston State in the SLC Tournament, making ORU the first No. 6 seed in league history to reach the title match.
Individual awards, a hallmark of the Sirola era, came rolling in at the completion of the 2012 season. Silva led the SLC with 627 digs, the fifth-highest, single-season mark in ORU history, and was named SLC Libero of the Year just one season after taking home the Summit League's top defensive award. Sheina Fernandes and Laura Taylor joined Silva on the All-Southland Conference team and Fernandes also was honored as ORU volleyball's first-ever Capital One Academic All-American.
The 2011 season marked a return to dominance for the Golden Eagles program. ORU posted 20 wins, including 12 Summit League victories, and advanced to the finals of the Summit League Tournament. Sirola led ORU on a mid-season stretch where it won 19 out of 20 matches. In her ninth season leading the Golden Eagles, Sirola became the program's career wins leader after a five-set victory over IPFW at home September 29, 2011. Silva was named Summit League Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first ORU sophomore to win a season-ending award since 2002.
In 2008, Sirola produced her fourth 20-win season with a 22-9 overall record and a 13-3 Summit League mark en route to a second place conference showing. ORU advanced to the finals of the conference tournament before falling to North Dakota State. Danijela Novakovic and JoJo Souza earned All-Summit League First Team honors, while Janete Ferreira and Juliane Vieira were named to the second team. Vieira also was named the league's Setter of the Year.
Sirola earned her 100th head coaching victory October 13, 2007, a five-set win over longtime Summit League nemesis North Dakota State.
In 2006, the Golden Eagles were able to push through and win their first Mid-Con title since 2002. In her fourth season at the helm, Sirola posted her highest win total (26) and second-highest winning percentage (.743) as head coach. She led her squad to its best conference record since 2002 and its third 20-win season in a four-year span. Sirola led her 2006 squad to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002 and was named Mid-Con Coach of the Year.
Despite spending just two years in a Golden Eagle uniform (1994-95), Sirola put her own personal stamp on the program by establishing several season and career records. Known for her killer jump serve, Sirola set the school's single-season record with 99 service aces in 1994 and led the entire NCAA with 98 aces during the 1995 season. Her career total of 197 service aces still ranks second on ORU's career charts. Sirola also ranks among ORU's career top five in kills per set, hitting percentage, and digs per set.
Sirola also found success on the soccer field while at ORU, playing four games as a defender and goalkeeper in 1995. Sirola stayed at ORU and completed her undergraduate degree in physical education in May 1998. She then became the first volleyball player to be inducted into the ORU Athletics Hall of Fame in February of 2003.