Grega rises for kill

North Penn-Liberty Mounties Charisma Grega rises up for a kill during their District Championship win against Wellsboro on Thursday, Nov. 5.

Consistency, preparation, dedication and continued success.

These are just a few ways fellow players and coaches have used to describe the career and play of senior North Penn-Liberty Lady Mounties volleyball star Charisma Grega, who once again put another dominant performance together in 2020.

Her play helped to lead her team to an undefeated regular season as well as their fifth-straight District 4 Title and is why she is named this year’s Gazette Volleyball Player of the Year.

Grega racked up an incredibly balanced statline in 2020 in just 12 games on the season, and tallied 147 kills, 18 aces, three blocks and 183 digs as the Ladies Mounties pushed their way to a set-record of 36-5 on the year.

She also got the chance to eclipse the 750 kill-mark during her first contest, and while she was sitting at 749 at the end of her junior season, there was doubt she would make it to the incredible milestone.

“My biggest accomplishment that I felt was important was getting the 750,” Grega said. “Even though it was my first kill of the season. If we wouldn’t have had that season I would have been stuck at 749 kills, so it was definitely the most memorable moment of my career.”

She not only reached that mark, but by the time the season was over she had almost topped the 900-kill mark. This is even more impressive when looking at how drastically the Liberty schedule was cut this season and that Liberty rarely ever went past three sets in a match.

“It makes me so happy to see Charisma receive these rewards,” Lady Mounties Head Volleyball Coach Jennifer Nawri said. “She deserves every single one. She is a true athlete in every sense of the word from talent to dedication to hard work to sportsmanship. She is definitely a model for others to follow, not just with her high-level of play but by the way she conducts herself on and off the court.”

Grega may be a great player, but the way she approaches the game has been a direct mirror for how the Liberty program conducts themselves over the years.

Even with a few setbacks in terms of gym time for the team, Grega is a player who works on her craft and strives to do the little things that make her a better player.

“I definitely do a lot of work outside the gym,” Grega said. “I work on my skills as well as lifting weights to be sure I keep myself in shape. So even though we weren’t in the gym, I’m still working on my skills to just keep myself sharp because you can’t walk away from the game for too long.”

Her attitude and play are the perfect example for how successful teams are sustained over the years, and as a leader she instilled those lessons in the younger players.

“Throughout my career I’ve definitely noticed myself progressing talent-wise, but I’ve never been one to brag or shove it in anyone’s face,” Grega said. “I’ve always just wanted everybody to get along and work as a team.”

The teamwork aspect of what Grega brought to the team as a leader was apparent, and the chemistry in the Liberty program is one that is yet to be matched by any area teams over Grega’s career.

“Charisma entered the varsity squad as a starting freshman with the same quiet confidence she displayed throughout her career,” Nawri said. “I’m sure there were nerves there when she was playing with the older, more experienced players, but it didn’t show. Through the next four years Charisma was a team leader. She has a natural sense of the game and is able to read the play and react with speed and accuracy. Players looked to Charisma for guidance on and off the court.”

That quiet demeanor has been a staple in her game, and in almost any situation you see a confidence and level-headedness that is rarely seen in the high school level of any sport.

But even with her silent demeanor, she was a fierce competitor and a willing leader. With a team that saw many of their top players and leaders graduate this past season, Grega was able to seamlessly step into that pivotal role and helped the younger players learn from one of the best in the area to ever hit the volleyball court.

“One memory that sticks out to me was from our first week of practice in August. We spent our first week of the season on a soccer field in Liberty completing conditioning,” Nawri said. “We joined with the JV and JH teams and at one of those practices, I asked Charisma along with Ali Koval and Julia Nawri to lead a demonstration of some key skills for our new JH players. It was a pleasure to see Charisma, along with Julia and Ali, step up eagerly to share and to help those younger players.”

Moving into next season, it will be another year of Liberty losing some of their top players including Grega, Nawri and Koval, but with a player like Grega helping to teach and mold the next generation of Mounties, expect the gold standard of District Championships going to Liberty to continue into the foreseeable future.

“I’m just really thankful for everything my coaches have done for me, and that I’ve played for North Penn-Liberty, because the team dynamic was just unbeatable and I had such a great time with everybody,” Grega said.

“It was obvious that Charisma greatly enjoyed sharing her experience and knowledge with the younger players,” Nawri added. “I could also see the level of admiration the younger players had for her.”

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