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Hempfield players spike interest in volleyball

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Hempfield Area High School volleyball player Morgan DeFloria (middle) teaches the fundamentals of volleyball to Emma Griffith, (left), 11, of Murrysville, and Mikayla Miller, (right), 10, of Greensburg.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Leena Idrees, 10, of Greensburg, attends the 'Intro to Volleyball' clinic on Monday evenings at the YMCA in Greensburg.

Players on Hempfield Area High School's girls volleyball team have been giving up their free time to help inspire others to love their sport.

Since Sept. 9, the high school players have turned out each Monday at the YMCA in Greensburg to teach children in grades three through six basic skills of setting, passing and hitting a volleyball.

“I really enjoy helping because I love working with young kids,” senior Devin Linsenbigler said. “I never coached volleyball before. I'm enjoying doing it.”

Coach Lindsay Turchetta and Tina Gummo of the YMCA started the clinic, which runs for 10 consecutive Mondays and concludes in mid-November.

Turchetta said she wanted her 22 varsity and junior varsity players to realize the importance of being involved in their community, having fun and learning about themselves by inspiring others.

“They actually come back on Tuesdays just delighted,” she said. “They love the little kids — how cute they are and the fun they're having.”

The clinic may spike the children's interest in volleyball and inspire them to participate when they get older, Turchetta said.

“We wanted to get them started at younger ages, before we lose them to different sports like basketball and soccer, which tend to start (programs) at a younger age,” she said.

Junior Maddie Holmberg said she has enjoyed being with the children and hopes she has inspired a few future players.

“They're actually really coachable,” Holmberg said. “They listen, and it's exciting to see that they're going to be making progress over the next few weeks.”

The varsity and junior varsity players alternate Mondays, with some coaching more than once.

Junior Cecily Gummo — Tina Gummo's daughter — said she was concerned initially about whether she had enough patience to teach younger players. After she took part in her first clinic, her worries vanished, she said.

“It's not what I expected,” Gummo said. “I enjoy it. They're good listeners and easy to work with.”

Player Linsenbigler's sister, Peydon, is among the children taking part in the program.

Mother Triscia Linsenbigler said she loves the clinic because it helps increase the children's interest in volleyball.

“The younger kids really do look up to the older girls as role models, and they just listen to them and take direction so well,” she added.

The clinic has other benefits, Turchetta said.

“It's helping the younger kids get involved, and they're (her players) learning (volleyball) strategies as well,” the coach said.

Gianna Richardson, a Maxwell Elementary School student, and MeKayla Dedo, a West Hempfield Middle School student, said they have been inspired by the clinic.

“I really like it and enjoy it,” Richardson said. “I like learning about volleyball.”

“I think it's fun and energetic,” Dedo added. “I like the setting, because I want to be a setter.”

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or