Charity Hill never played at 100 percent during the team’s run through the NCAA Tournament last season.
That’s because Hill was playing on a bum left ankle that never received proper medical attention. She was off to rehabilitation after surgery for her ailing ankle in the spring. Coach Bob Bertucci was worried this would take away from her weight training schedule but she has been feeling her healthiest since she came to Temple in 2000.
“It made a big difference,” Hill said. “It was bothering me all last year.”
Hill has made a huge turnaround and it couldn’t have come at a better time with the volleyball team one game behind Dayton for first place in the Atlantic Ten Conference. In a 3-0 win over La Salle last Tuesday, Hill recorded three blocks in limited action. She also had nine blocks against Rutgers and 11 kills versus Duquesne during the Owls current six-game winning streak.
Hill, a senior middle blocker, has been an integral part to the team’s success. Her leadership, knack for shutting down the opposition and extra time spent with assistant coach Yi Qing Weng, one of the best hitters and blockers to ever play volleyball, has earned her The Temple News Athlete of the Week.
“It’s all or nothing this year,” Bertucci said of Hill. “I think she’s kind of demonstrated her competitiveness and her confidence is real good right now. She’s now shown the desire to play the backcourt and gives us a tremendous effort when we leave her in there.”
Bertucci couldn’t be more pleased with the production from the middle blockers. Hill has a rare quickness in getting off the floor for a block. Her jumping abilities are above average – she can jump 10-feet, 3-inches – and could probably dunk a basketball.
“I think she knows that when she turns it on, she can stop anyone in the conference,” Bertucci said.
Hill’s statistics have been on the rise since her freshman year. She’s led the team in blocks since her sophomore season and continues the streak this year with an average of 1.10 a game. Hill’s also third in the A-10 in blocks and fifth in hitting percentage (.300).
Ankle injury? What ankle injury?
“She’s doing well,” junior setter Alison Runk said. “When it comes to game time she ignores her pain.”
Hill’s all business on the court. Off it, however, is a different story.
“I’m kind of a clown,” she conceded.
But during this past summer, there wasn’t any time to joke around because she was busy interning at the University of Southern California Hospital and the Los Angeles County Clinic. While she was there, Hill assisted with patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, a painful inflammation in the lining of the joints and internal organs.
Hill has wanted to be a doctor since the age of six and will pursue a career in family practice. Her grandfather and uncle are both in the field of medicine and Hill is hoping she can follow in their footsteps by attending medical school at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Right now the best case scenario for Hill is no more dirty work until grad school.
Chris Silva can be reached at email@example.com.