Trnka Fills Many Roles with Leadership Ability
Leusch, John, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: John Leusch Daily Herald Sports Writer
You might have asked her a question about one of the exhibits this summer at the Shedd Aquarium.
You might have listened to her musical talents when she performed as part of a violin trio with two sisters at weddings and other functions.
Or, this fall, you might see her performing as one of the area's top middle hitters in volleyball.
Suffice it to say, Maureen Trnka keeps herself busy.
She grew up watching Hersey volleyball teams.
She never envisioned a future for herself in the sport.
"For as long as I can remember, I've been watching them play," she says. "My sister (Monica) played on the 1993 state finalist and I saw some great players. They were my idols. I even tried to imitate them."
Now, grammar school girls are probably trying to imitate Trnka.
The 6-foot-senior middle hitter has placed herself among the elite players who have come through the tradition-rich program that has sent three teams to the state finals the last 10 years.
Trnka made one of those Elite Eight trips last fall when she was one of the few underclass starters for the Huskies who took fourth place in the Class AA state tourney.
"That was really great," Trnka said. "It was really special because the majority of the team were seniors and I knew how special going downstate was for them. And being so close to them, knowing they would experience it for the last time, made it special for me."
Maureen was introduced to the sport by Joanie Fesl, the Arlington Heights Park District youth sports coordinator and local high school official who was running a volleyball program on Sunday nights.
"My sister, Katie, went to the program and I'd go along with her just to watch," Maureen said.
"I liked watching them play but I never thought of myself as a player," she said. "My junior high (Thomas) didn't have a volleyball team. Basketball was the big sport at Thomas and I really liked that."
But after a few visits to Fesl's volleyball program, Trnka was soon participating and finding a new sport.
"It wasn't competitive at all," she recalled. "She (Fesl) taught us the fundamentals - that's where I learned all the basics of the game."
By the time she reached Hersey, Maureen's game was polished enough that she was placed on the sophomore team as a freshman.
"I looked at it as an honor to be moved up to the sophomore team," Maureen said. "And my coach (Kyle Reed) was great for me to have that first year. He taught me everything after Joanie.
"Then when I got to the varsity, Mrs. Lill taught me about mind-set, how to be a player and focus."
Lill anxiously awaited Maureen's arrival to high school.
"I coached her older sister (Monica) and I couldn't wait for Maureen to get to Hersey," Lill said. "She was always tall, and had great hands. I even entertained the thought of having her set."
"Actually, I love setting," Maureen said with a laugh. "But it's something I don't get to do."
Trnka is too valuable at the net, where she blocks and hits with the best of them.
"A lot of kids might be tall but Maureen is a very smart player," Lill said. …