Students from three grades in the Panther Valley School District competed with each other in a volleyball tournament but also collaborated, raising funds for the American Cancer Society on Sunday.
Called “Volley for a Cure,” the event was dedicated to Lisa Trubilla, a longtime, former assistant high school volleyball coach at Panther Valley. Trubilla is battling breast cancer.
Teams from the eighth, ninth and 10th grades played not only each other but parents and high school volleyball alumni.
The winning team, consisting of ninth graders, will be presenting a check for the ACS during the Cancer Society’s annual telethon next month. Eighth-grade team members also will be at the check presentation. The telethon is scheduled for April 9 and 10 at Penn’s Peak.
The tourney tentatively raised about $600, tournament organizer Terri Kokinda said, but more donations are coming.
“I am honored that Terri called me on the phone to tell me I am the honoree,” Trubilla said.
During the event, she served as the referee.
Kokinda said the tournament started in 2017 and is an annual event at Panther Valley. It was held in the gym of the Intermediate School.
Last year the event wasn’t held because of the pandemic but Kokinda said she felt it was important to revive it this year, especially for the now 10th-graders who never got to participate in it.
“We want to show the students how important it is to be a positive part of the community,” she said.
She said she was pleased with the enthusiasm shown by the student participants and “we had a lot of volunteers and community support.”
Trubilla, or Coaldale, is the wife of Russell Trubilla. They have two sons, Zachary and Jacob, both Panther Valley graduates, and a daughter, Sadie, a senior at PV who is a member of the high school volleyball team.
She said her cancer was discovered through her annual mammogram. “I stress that women should have a yearly mammogram,” she said. “If I wouldn’t have had that, I still wouldn’t know (I have cancer).”
Besides being a former volleyball coach, Trubilla is the diving coach and assistant swim coach at Tamaqua High School. One of her divers won a silver medal in the recent Schuylkill County Swim Meet, she said.
Members of the championship freshmen team in the Volley for a Cure topped a team of sophomores 3-1.
The freshman squad consisted of Abby Bennick, Emma Dacey, Brenna McAndrew, Brennan Kunkel, Nuredin Gjoca, Connor Penberth, Brady Jones and Natalie Vemillion.
On the 10th-grade team were Eli Maynard, Tyler Black, Drew Kokinda, Carson Surotchak, Mikayla Yuricheck and Candace Kropf.
Later, the freshmen topped an eighth-grade team consisting of Brody Breiner, Jah Bashati, Gavin Yuricheck, Danny Wehr, Morgan Orsulak and Ava Alabovitz.
The eighth-graders got to compete against their parents. It was the team of adults that won the event, winning three straight tames. The parent team consisted of Crystal Orsulak, Ronald Yuricheck, Wally Breiner, Lori Dacey, Michael Alabovitz and Jen Maynard.
There was also an intermission game that featured an adult team against alumni and present volleyball players. The adult team was comprised of Kim Cooper, Lori Dacey, Jen Jones, Jen Maynard, Vicki Bennick and Steph Mertz.
They played against a team that consisted of Alexis Cooper, Ava Kosciolek, Natalie White, Gianna Steber, Maddison Maynard and Gino Williams.
Lisa Trubilla, who was honored during the 2022 Volley for a Cure volleyball tournament at the Panther Valley Intermediate School on Sunday, serves as an official for the event. Proceeds from the tourney will be given to the American Cancer Society in honor of Trubilla.
Brenna McAndrew hits the ball during 2022 Volley for a Cure volleyball tournament at the Panther Valley Intermediate School. Also pictured are Emma Dacey, back; Connor Penberth, 3, and Nuredin Gjoca. See a photo gallery at www.tnonline.com. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS