Each week during the 2013-14 season a Maryland student-athlete who has shown excellence on and off the playing field will be selected as the Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week. This week's Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week is Sarah Harper of the volleyball team. Harper set the Maryland record for career digs in a 3-0 win against Wake Forest on the team’s Senior Day.
By Danny Hoffman
There aren’t many better stories out there in sports than that of Sarah Harper. A senior libero from Charlottesville, Va., Harper began her career as a walk-on and will finish as Maryland’s all-time digs leader. That title became certain when the 5’4” star notched her 1,671st career dig in the third set against Wake Forest last Sunday on Senior Day.
“It was awesome,” Harper said of her accomplishment. “I couldn’t imagine that happening when I first got here. It has been a dream come true, and just having people behind me like my teammates, coaches, family and friends has gotten me to where I am.”
Harper broke the dig record set by Nicole Lantagne (1990-93), who formerly coached ACC rival Miami against Harper and the Terps for 10 seasons. Lantagne’s record stood for 20 years, until the third set of last Sunday’s match when Harper rewrote Maryland volleyball history.
“The time that she set it was when I was born, so it is crazy how it has been that long,” Harper said. “It was an awesome achievement to have done that because I know she was a great player here.”
Head coach Tim Horsmon presented Harper with a shovel, which was a symbolic gesture of her digs record.
“It was a little shovel,” Harper said of the gift. “It had ‘Maryland’ on it and my name and my digs on it. My dad took it from me, and he is making a case for it right now. He is in North Carolina now making that, and then hopefully I can get it back for my Virginia game, which is my last game ever.”
Although Harper’s career will live on in Maryland history books for years to come, she recognizes her volleyball mortality. A senior family science major, she is beginning to look beyond her playing days toward her future after college.
“I am not exactly sure what I want to do yet,” Harper admitted. “I am really enjoying the strength and conditioning aspect of volleyball. I might want to be a strength coach and go back and work for the club that I played for my senior year of high school and maybe coach there and work in the weight room there also.”
Her former club team, U-turn Sports Performance Academy, and her hometown are only an hour from College Park, so Harper will not rule out the possibility of returning to Maryland in a coaching capacity.
“I would love to come back here and give back to the program that gave me so much,” Harper said. “Hopefully, if that opportunity ever presented itself, I would end up doing that.”