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Storkel a positive example for young Greensburg Salem tennis

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 | 2:40 pm


Whatever instrument you put in her hands, Paige Storkel can swing it.

A junior at Greensburg Salem, Storkel is a talented two-sport athlete who excels on the Golden Lions tennis and softball teams.

Though she thinks her future plans lean more towards the diamond, she is no slouch on the field, reaching the WPIAL singles tournament and finishing third in Section 1-AA last season.

Now, with a little more experience, she hopes to build on a successful 2020, emerging as a threat in the Greensburg Salem lineup as the top singles player and part of the top doubles pair.

“Last year I think I did really well,” she said. “This year I think I’m making progress just by practicing and getting all kinds of new tricks and new services. Yes, new things are coming.”

Storkel has worked hard on those serves, adding more spin to her delivery. Her dedication, as well as her hustle, has impressed Greensburg Salem coach Christopher Gazze.

“We have someone who can go out and compete with the best players in the section, and that’s all you can ask for,” said Gazze in his second season with the Golden Lions. “When she’s there, it’s amazing how much effort she puts in on the pitch. I am always impressed with the balls she gets. She has an all-round game and can do everything very well. We are excited about what she can do this season.”

Storkel is the starting catcher for the school’s softball team, but her family tree blossoms with tennis players. Her aunt, Kim Kissell, is Seton Hill’s coach and her cousin, Joellee Kissell, is Kim’s assistant. Those two coach Paige’s sister, Kasey, who was an accomplished player at Greensburg Salem.

The Storkel sisters played together for one season, Paige’s first year in 2019. As a double tandem, they finished second in the WPIAL Class AA tournament and reached the PIAA postseason.

“I’ve always trusted her when we played together,” Paige Storkel said of Kasey. “When I started playing alone, I started doing the things she always did and learned from what she did when I played with her. I’ve learned to play alone, without her, and that’s made me better.”

Gazze said Greensburg Salem is young this season. It only returned four players from 2020, but welcomed 12 players who are new to the team. Some of those players have not been playing tennis for a month.

But the goal is for Storkel to help the team come back in the WPIAL postseason, which it missed in 2020.

“For myself, I want to pick up where I left off last year and get the WPIALs again,” said Storkel. “With the team I hope we can get a little further than last year, win games and just do better.”

With Storkel’s experience and talent, it allows Gazze to be more hands-off with its development, giving him the opportunity to focus more on the younger players of Greensburg Salem. And Storkel, along with doubles partner and senior Chelsea Stabile, are also helping with that and providing guidance to younger players.

Leadership for Storkel isn’t just about winning and losing, and that’s something she tries to pass on to her teammates.

“I want them to have fun and not be stressed about playing and just have a good time while they are there,” she said. “Some of my friends also play. I want them to have a good experience with it.”

Tags: Greensburg Salem

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