All-County Volleyball: Player of the Year
Fri. December 30, 2011 at 6:42 p.m. | By Solange Reyner
Karla Thiele,18, of George Jenkins High School (Photo by Scott Wheeler | THE LEDGER)
By SOLANGE REYNER
When Karla Thiele’s father tried talking to her in their kitchen at home after a loss, his daughter kept text messaging on her cell phone.
“She wouldn’t stop. It was so frustrating,” Jonathan Thiele said.
“I told her to quit it and put the phone down.”
Karla, a senior at George Jenkins, didn’t and Jonathan Thiele let it pass because of her explanation: She said she was texting her teammates because she had to make sure to tell them that it was just one loss, that they couldn’t quit.
“After big games, she would text people telling them to keep their head up,” teammate Kacy Scarpa said.
“A lot of people looked up to her because of the way she interacted with everyone. She was that action role model who always encouraged everybody.”
Her attitude helped.
Thiele led her team to a 22-6 record, a district title and a Class 7A regional final.
She did it with grit, tenacity and heart.
For her performance, Thiele is the 2011-12 PolkPreps.com volleyball player of the year.
The outside hitter finished with 396 digs, 243 kills and 33 aces for Jenkins in the Eagles’ most successful season since coach Lisa Bickerton took over as the head coach in 2001.
Heading into the season, Thiele and her teammates were intent on taking the team far. They came up with the motto “Whatever It Takes” and wrote it on their arms with a black Sharpie every game.
They also made T-Shirts with the saying to remind them of the goal.
“Even if it meant bruises, bumps, whatever,” Thiele said.
“I wanted us to go far because I love our team so much. I also wanted coach Bick to get the credit she deserved.”
That’s because Bickerton helped her believe in herself.
“She pushed me,” Thiele said. “I would have people tell me I was too short to play at a Division I school or I would never start on the varsity team as a freshman.”
She proved her doubters wrong.
All 5-foot-7 of her.
Next fall, Thiele will play volleyball for the New Jersey Institute of Technology, a Division I program.
She will sign with the school in February.
“Coach Bick helped me succeed. She also helped make me a better person and I want to do the same thing for others.”