Prosper volleyball player Ciera Hecht announced she would be continuing her volleyball career in college, playing Division I at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
But the junior’s recruiting experience wasn’t always easy. Hecht sometimes found herself frustrated with the process.
“5’10” is considered undersized in the big conferences that want to show 6’ plus hitters on their rosters, which was a little frustrating at times,” Hecht said. “Because I can jump and play above the net, I found myself in a unique position during the past few years to have had the interest of quite a number of schools in the Power Five conferences, mostly for my defense, but some as a six-rotation outside.”
Hecht experience her first college recruitment back in seventh grade, when the University of Oklahoma was interested in her defense. As she grew into the sport, even more schools found themselves clamoring for her defensive presence. Both Kansas State and the University of Tennessee offered her a position at libero, but Hecht politely declined.
“The Power Five schools save their money for those really tall hitters, and don’t generally give scholarships to defensive players,” Hecht said. “I did get partial offers for defense, but by the time I factored in the remaining out-of-state tuition and distance from home… I decided I wanted to stay closer to home.”
After a few months of visits and countless conversations with coaches, Hecht stumbled across SFA after coming home from a visit to Wake Forest. While she never really considered SFA as a top choice, one of the assistant coaches, who was Hecht’s former club coach, convinced her to take a look.
Following the visit, the coaches wasted no time offering Hecht a full scholarship, plus extra funding to reward her for her high ACT scores. She will be a starting six-rotation outside hitter as a freshman.
“They were very excited I was there, and it was a really nice experience,” Hecht said. “After a lot of prayer and conversations with my family, I decided that this was the opportunity I wanted. I feel blessed to have it, and I’m truly humbled.”
Prosper head coach Erin Kauffman knows the value she will bring to the SFA squad. While the junior still has one more season with the Lady Eagles, Kauffman is excited for Hecht’s opportunity.
“I’m so excited for every girl that decides to play at the next level — (she) deserves it… Ciera is a great all-around player who can do everything at a high level and she brings a quiet confidence about her,” she said. “When the game is on the line, I want CiCi getting the ball.”
In her three years on the varsity squad, the junior has been an integral part of the Prosper lineup. As one of the only players to play in all six rotations, Hecht has accumulated 290 total kills, 262 digs and 38 aces so far this season. She has played in a total of 80 sets, and is one of District 14-5A’s stat leaders this season.
Now that the team has captured the District 14-5A Championship, Hecht and the rest of the girls look ahead to the post-season, and while the junior is ready for the next step in her career, she’s not quite ready for the season to end.
“Heading into the playoffs, I’m really looking forward to play some competitive volleyball… I’m excited to see how far we can take this team,” Hecht said. “I’m really looking forward to playing in college, but I’m also trying to stay in the moment because the last few seasons have gone so fast, and I know that next year is going to fly by.”