North Marion setter becomes second volleyball player this year to sign for NAIA program

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Morcom signed as Multnomah University's top recruit in February, joining teammate Paige Martin as the only two North Marion volleyball players in program history to sign for an NAIA progrma.In the span of two years, Emma Morcom went from a rookie setter to the top recruit at Multnomah University.

The North Marion senior inked her commitment on Feb. 21 to join the Lions' volleyball program this fall, becoming the second member of this year's Huskies team to sign for a collegiate program.

"I'm definitely very excited to start a whole new volleyball career and college experience," Morcom said. "I'm excited to grow, meet new people and play new games against new competition."

Morcom will attend the Portland-area university — part of the Cascade Collegiate Conference — joining teammate Paige Martin as the first North Marion volleyball players in school history to sign for an NAIA team.

Morcom's high school volleyball career began under then-head coach Alexa Powell in 2015, where she played primarily as a right-side hitter. When Jackie Arnold took over the program the summer before Morcom's junior year, the new head coach saw tremendous potential in Morcom as a setter and pitched the idea of switching positions.

"Jackie said I had good hands and she wanted to utilize that," Morcom said. "I was halfway used, not fully, because we had another setter that was there who had been more in the position and knew what she was doing."

Morcom split time between several positions in her first year of transitioning to setter and garnered All-Conference honors for a North Marion team that finished 11-10 overall and 7-3 in the Oregon West Conference — tied for second place in the final league standings.

Following the team's postseason exit in the play-in round, Morcom continued to train at the club level and entered her senior year season with renewed vigor as the team's primary setter.

She thrived in the role, earning First Team All-Conference honors and helping the North Marion volleyball program finish tied atop the Tri-River Conference standings with a 9-1 record — the team's first league title since 1991.

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - After entering high school as a right-side hitter, Morcom transitioned to become North Marion's primary setter by her senior year."I liked it a lot," Morcom said of her full season at setter this past fall. "I think I like running a 5-1 better, because I know I'm taking every second ball. Just knowing that it's mine, I don't need to worry about what everyone else is doing, and they can trust me to take the second ball."

The Huskies qualified for the first round of the 4A state tournament, and though the team was bounced in the first round at Sweet Home, Morcom's high-profile role on a league champion team piqued the interest of the Multnomah program, which offered her their top scholarship.

"To see her come in on the right side and to watch her develop into a setter, gets recruited and gets the No. 1 offer at her college program is just incredible," Arnold said. "It's been a great ride with Emma. She's an amazing athlete and an amazing person."

Morcom had initially looked to play outside the state, like her teammate Martin, who signed with Cardinal-Stritch University in Wisconsin. But she began warming to the idea of playing closer to home, and the offer from Multnomah eventually won her over.

"Meeting new people and having new experiences while still being home; it's more comforting to me," Morcom said.

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - North Marion senior Emma Morcom earned First Team All-Conference honors for the Huskies this season, helping the volleyball program earn its first conference title since 1991.She joins a Multnomah team led by head coach Jenna Bouey, who guided the Lions to a 6-23 record in 2018, including 3-17 in conference play. With seven seniors graduating, including the team's starting setter, Morcom enters the program looking to play a significant role this fall.

"Usually there's always a lot of pressure in my position," she said. "I'm very excited, because they definitely need a setter, and that's mostly why I got the big scholarship, because they need someone."

In the interim, Morcom will finish her senior athletic season by trying out for a new sport this spring. She played tennis her freshman year and ran track as a sophomore and junior. In her final spring season, Morcom will try her hands on the golf course.

"All new experiences and new people are very exciting to me," Morcom said. "Every day is a new day to grow, so I think it'll be very good for me to grow out of what I have here."

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