Grega has been a force for NPL
North Penn-Liberty outside hitter Charisma Grega has always stuck out on a volleyball court. People may not forget hearing her name called because of the uniqueness — her namesake being the actress Charisma Carpenter — but they certainly will remember her level of play.
The junior has started as a six-rotation player every match of her high school career and is closing in on 750 kills and 750 digs as a junior, both milestones she could reach in Saturday’s state final against North Catholic on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Cumberland Valley High School.
Grega has been playing and loving volleyball for a long time, and it shows in her all-around prowess on the court.
“When I was nine, my sister was just going into junior high. She decided to join volleyball last minute. I would go outside with her and practice with her every single night. I just couldn’t get enough,” said Grega.
Grega’s dad, Bill, runs the Nightmare Volleyball club that many of the premier area players and nearly all of the Mounties play for, so volleyball certainly runs in their family.
Grega’s talent became clear pretty quickly after she picked up the game. She was a woman amongst girls as a middle school player. Even with the Mounties coming off a district championship, there really was not much doubt that Grega would be a freshman starter.
“Before I came up to varsity, I actually had been practicing with the team. I met (former) coach Smith when I was 12 years old. Each year, she was more and more impressed by my skill level. My eighth-grade year, she actually said she would start me on the varsity team if it was allowed in Pennsylvania,” said Grega. “I’d worked so hard every year. I believe after putting in the hard work, I’d earned that position.”
Her impact has been felt. A league or district foe has not been able to beat Grega and the Mounties in three seasons. Her all-court game is as good as anyone in the area, as she is just as good of a passer and defender as she is a hitter.
“I take extreme pride in my passing. Although being an outside hitter is technically my specialty, passing is also a passion of mine. Arguably, the most important part of volleyball is passing because if you don’t get the ball up, you have no offense,” she said. “I’m very critical of my passing, so every time the ball comes to me, I do everything I can to get that ball perfectly to target. Passing isn’t easy. It’s the most underrated part of the game.”
The colleges have been after Grega for quite some time now, and being a good student interested in the sciences strengthens her case. For now, she is using her love of the game to try to bring North Penn-Liberty a state championship. Coach Jennifer Nawri has remarked that her focus during games, unmistakable as it is, is even more pronounced in practice.
“For me, volleyball is my unwinding time. I love the sport so much. Every practice matters and I know we need to put in the work. I mean … look where it’s gotten us this season. In my opinion, focus is how you play your best game. You can be the best player out there, but if you don’t focus, you will never play to your potential,” Grega said. “When I’m on the court, the only things that matter to me are contributing the best I can and winning as a team. This Saturday, we’re really going to have to work together and stay focused if we want to win that state title.”
Whatever happens on Saturday, Grega will be a big part of it.