Penn Hills senior gets in on ground floor of Division II college volleyball program

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Sunday, June 13, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Alain Tamo-Noche saw a unique opportunity available by committing to play men’s volleyball at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.

The 6-foot-1 Penn Hills senior outside hitter will be on the ground floor of a brand new program. The Marauders will be part of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s first season sponsoring men’s volleyball in 2022.

The SIAC is a Division II conference of 14 schools that consists primarily of historically Black colleges and universities.

“That was one of the big things that pulled me in,” Tamo-Noche said. “It will be cool to start a culture of a volleyball team for years to come. You don’t get that option many times.”

Central State had the same thought process. The Marauders hired Ray Lewis to coach their men’s and women’s programs due in large part to his background coaching and developing at the high school level.

Lewis coached the Legacy High School boys team to a Nevada state title in 2014. At the college level, he took Benedictine-Mesa to the school’s first berth in the NAIA national tournament.

Lewis, who was hired as coach last November, found out about Tamo-Noche after receiving film of him from Tamo-Noche’s club coach.

“I love his athleticism,” Lewis said. “He’s quick and played basketball. A lot of skills from basketball are transferable to volleyball. We’ve talked to him about switching to right side and continuing to hone his skills. We think he has a bright future as a right side in our program.”

With skill development in mind, Tamo-Noche is looking to lay a strong foundation before he gets to college.

Tamo-Noche, who didn’t start playing volleyball until he reached high school, will play on a club team for the first time this summer.

“I want to get stronger and learn the game more,” Tamo-Noche said. “I’m a new player to the game. Coach Ray told me high school volleyball and college are two different types of volleyball. Really, I have to start getting ready to adjust and getting stronger.”

Lewis looked all over the map for players to get into the program. After taking over, they sought out players internationally and from the high school circuit.

“When we develop players, we want to take raw athletes and teach them the game,” Lewis said. “We do film sessions and positional training that give us the opportunity for them to get reps and hone game skills.”

Tamo-Noche is ready to get to work. His time with Penn Hills gave him experience with working with players of different experience levels.

The Indians only had four seasoned varsity players on the roster this spring.

“It was so great,” Tamo-Noche said. “Everybody was new to the sport. It was great learning and growing together. We built a family environment for the team. I’m happy I started playing volleyball. It was some of my best experiences in high school.”

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