Coach is to walk off after season’s finish

Nathan Bottiger, Sports Editor

Pitt-Johnstown’s Head Volleyball Coach Linda Renzi is to finish her ninth and final season of her career this year.

Renzi coached Richland High Senior School girls’ volleyball team to seven state volleyball championships and five runners-up finishes during her 30 years with the high school.

She also coached the girls’ teams to 25 district championship titles and 28 league and conference titles. She also coached boys’ volleyball, leading them to seven district titles as well.

Renzi began coaching at Pitt-Johnstown in 2002 as an assistant to Clyde Horner, who achieved a 600-win milestone. Renzi stepped into the position in the 2005 season after Horner’s retirement.

In 2007 and 2010, Renzi coached the team to the quarter-final round of conference playoffs.

Renzi was inducted into the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1995, and was also inducted into Cambria County Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.

When recruited, senior Kayla Petrilla said Renzi made her feel as though she was joining a new family and cared about her.

“She is like a second mom to us when we are away from home,” Petrilla said.

“She is very compassionate and truly cares about her players, and we count on her.”

Petrilla said Renzi is a kind person who devotes a lot of time to the program, and is enthusiastic about the team and its successes.

Petrilla said Renzi has shown her dedication not only as a coach, but also as a role model and friend.

“She is always there for the present and past players, on and off the court, in all aspects of life.”

“We will definitely miss her, but this is a well-deserved break at this time in her life after all the time she has put into volleyball, not only at UPJ, but other organizations over the past 40 years.”

Freshman Marina Pecora said she is thankful to Renzi for helping her adjust to the game at a collegiate level.

“She’s very experienced and has taught me a lot,” Pecora said. “

Renzi added two assistant coaches to the roster this year, Justin and Joanna Haupt. Joanna is to take over the head coaching position following this season.

Petrilla said she feels the duo is capable of taking over the responsibilities, and already have shown they to relate well to the players.

“They have a fresh view on things and a lot of new drills to incorporate, and everyone relates to them very well,” Petrilla said

Renzi said she did not want to discuss her retirement.

She said the team’s seniors, Petrilla and Kelsey Kohler, have great leadership qualities and are outstanding players, and should be the ones to look for in the next week.

Renzi said she believes her team is ready for their playoff run, and need to perform well to beat teams like Wheeling Jesuit University, ranked first in the conference and 18th nationally.

She said her players are intelligent, hard-working and have their priorites straight for academics and athletics.

“They are all great to work with.”

The team won their last two conference Nov. 2 against Glenville State (W. Va.) College and Nov. 3 against West Virginia Wesleyan College.