Fab frosh Hinkey to take her game overseas
Leah Hinkey’s list of accolades just keeps growing.The former Glenwood High standout volleyball player, who just completed her first year as a starter for the University of Tennessee, will now head to Europe to play.Hinkey is one of 20 freshmen selected to the USA Under-20 Select Team, composed of the top true freshmen from the best NCAA Division I teams in the country, set to play in the European Exposure Tour Global Challenge in Italy and Croatia July 17-27.”I have never been to Europe,” Hinkey said. “It’s really exciting.”
Hinkey, named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team after the fall 2006 season, will join Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick, who is one of three coaches for the team, and one other Volunteer player as representatives from UT. “It’s a pretty big deal,” Hinkey said. “I am excited that our coach is coming.”There are also a handful of players from the SEC on the team, which will first travel to Venice, Italy, where it will join up with the USA Junior A2 team. Both squads will play and train together in Venice, Pordenone and Verona before going to Croatia for the tournament July 23-26.
Nine teams from Europe, including from Slovenia, Germany, Bosnia, Italy, Montenegro and Croatia, will be in the tournament, as well as seven teams from throughout the U.S. It’s been a busy summer for Hinkey, even before she heads out for Europe. Last week, Hinkey helped coach Tennessee volleyball camps and, mixed with team training sessions, is on the go from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.”When we don’t have camps we are working out and training all the time,” she said.
The Lady Vols preseason will start Aug. 9, when Hinkey will kick off her sophomore season after a very successful first year.”It’s been good. It went by really fast. I can’t believe the first year is already over. It’s weird not to be a freshman,” Hinkey said. “The new freshmen came in this week and it’s weird not to be that anymore.”Hinkey enjoys playing at Tennessee, one of the country’s top athletic program that includes the 2006-07 women’s basketball national champions. “It’s great,” Hinkey said. “Everywhere you go, everyone knows you and everyone is really supportive of the program.”
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