By Rick Morwick
Santina Schembra is no stranger to success on the volleyball court.
Heading into her fourth varsity season as a defensive specialist for state power Center Grove, the senior standout has already been a part of one regional title and three straight sectional championships.
Not surprisingly, she expects her final varsity season to be her best — for herself and for her team.
“I see us all being very close as friends and having a good relationship and that will lead to us being successful on the court this year,” said Schembra, who will be a three-year starter when the 2018 season begins Aug. 12 at New Castle.
As one of the Trojans’ most experienced returners, they will look to her for direction as well as production.
“She has displayed some great leadership,” said first-year Head Coach Chris Due, who was hired last month after two successful seasons at Ritter High School in Indianapolis. “That’s one of the first things that stood out to me with her. She has a great rapport with her teammates.”
Due, a veteran head coach who also enjoyed a successful stint at Franklin Community High School from 2010 to 2013, appreciates Schembra for other reasons: her ability and skills.
“She is a very scrappy defender that moves (on) the court well,” Due said. “She does a great job bringing a great energy and vibe to the court.”
In light of heavy graduation losses from last year’s team that advanced to the Class 4A regional finals, Schembra will be among the Trojans’ most experienced returners. She will be a four-year varsity player and three-year starter.
But her experience isn’t limited to high school. An accomplished club player, she literally grew up playing the sport.
“I have played volleyball my whole life,” Schembra said. “I enjoy being able to connect and create relationships with teammates, on and off the court.”
Due is confident Schembra’s leadership, coupled with that of fellow returners, senior, Graci Gasper and juniors, Madison Hammill, Ashley Eck, Anna Line and Calista Stafford, will help the Trojans build off last year’s success, which also included Johnson County Tournament and Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference championships.
“We lost some really solid seniors last year but we have a great core returning,” Due said. “We have a very strong junior class and have a lot of depth in multiple positions. We play one of the strongest schedules in the state, so that will help us get ready in the postseason.
“One thing I’ve learned about the players in the first few weeks I’ve been here is that they are hungry for success. They really enjoy the game of volleyball and they also work hard in the weight room.
THE SCHEMBRA FILE
NAME: Santina Schembra
Will be a four-year varsity player and three-year starter
INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF VOLLEYBALL:
“I love to spend time with my teammates and friends.”
FAVORITE TV SHOW:
Aspires to play in college but is still exploring options
Mother, Antoinette Pulse; father, Larry Schembra; stepfather, Derrick Pulse; stepmother, Shelly Schembra