Westmoreland Alumni Q&A with Emma Fenton

The former Greater Latrobe standout volleyball player is now at Saint Francis

Thu Sep 22, 2022 - 9:54AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers
Greater Latrobe's Emma Fenton has started every match for Saint Francis this season.Greater Latrobe's Emma Fenton has started every match for Saint Francis this season.

Last Updated: Thu Sep 22, 2022 - 11:00AM

The last name Fenton has been synonymous with Greater Latrobe athletics for years. One of the Fenton’s who has helped carry on that family legacy is Emma, who was a stellar volleyball player for the Wildcats and now is a key component of the team at Saint Francis University. She is under the spotlight this week for the Westmoreland Alum Q&A.

Emma was a three-year varsity letterwinner in volleyball at Greater Latrobe, beginning in her sophomore year of 2018. That campaign, the Wildcats went 9-3 in section play, securing a share of the section. However, the Wildcats fell to Butler Area in the first round of the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs. For her efforts, Fenton was selected as an All-Section honoree.

The next season, the Wildcats collectively took a step back, as they compiled a record of 3-9, missing the WPIAL postseason. Individually, Fenton was strong once again, as she garnered All-Section accolades for the second year in a row.

In Fenton’s senior year, the Wildcats went 7-4, returning to the WPIAL playoffs. However, Greater Latrobe came up short against Seneca Valley in the Class 4A first round to conclude the season. Fenton elevated her play, as she was selected First-Team All-Section, as well as Second-Team All-WPIAL.

In total, Fenton compiled 292 kills, 347 digs, and 63 aces in her varsity career.

At Greater Latrobe, Fenton also participated in basketball, a sport that runs in her family, but she opted to continue her athletic career collegiately in volleyball. Subsequently, she matriculated to Saint Francis University.

As a freshman setter with the Red Flash last year, Fenton appeared in eight matches, posting 93 assists, four aces, and 29 digs. Saint Francis went 13-14 overall, including 9-5 in the Northeast Conference (NEC). In the conference tournament, however, the Red Flash fell to Bryant University in the semifinals.

This season, Fenton has ascended to a starter, playing in all 13 matches to this point. She paces the squad with 377 assists, while adding 11 aces, 134 digs, and four blocks. Collectively, the Red Storm are just 2-9, as they commence NEC play later this week.

Emma dedicated time from her schedule to respond to questions about her best attribute on the court, the impact her family has had on her career, and a little-known fact about her.

Q: You have taken on a much larger role this year. How have you improved since your freshman season?

A: This season is much different than last season, especially for me personally. I believe that one huge difference that has allowed me to improve my game comes along with having a consistent position on the court, which allows me to set consistently. Now that I have a bigger role as the starting setter, I am able to work solely on my setting and hitting connections with my hitters. The focus is all on us, so we can work out any misconnects, as well as work on different sets in different situations.

Q: What is your best attribute as a player?

A: I believe my best attribute as a player is being coachable. I think I do a good job of taking advice and criticism and applying it in the very next play. I have a very open mind, so I am eager to learn new things, and I accept change.

Q: What are the most important aspects to succeed as a setter?

A: As a setter, I believe the most important aspect to succeed is being strategic and being confident -remaining calm in moments of adversity. At the Division I level, it is extremely important as a setter to read the other team’s blockers in order to decide where to set the ball. Setters are the quarterback of the team by running the offense. Because of this, setters must be mentally tough in order to lead the team in tough situations.

Q: What are the most important aspects to succeed as a setter?

A: This season’s nonconference has definitely been tough. We have often found ourselves taking teams to a fifth set but ultimately losing. Our win against Duquesne definitely showed us that when we play aggressive, both offensively and defensively, we play better. If we keep this mindset going into conference play, I definitely think we will be able to compete fine in the NEC.

Q: What team and individual goals did you set for 2022?

A: Our team goal is to win the NEC and make the NCAA tournament at the end of the season. An individual goal for me has been staying consistent as a setter. At Saint Francis, we run a very fast tempo, so at times it is hard not to slow things down in crucial times of the game. I think as long as I stay aggressive no matter the score, I will be able to keep setting the fast tempo.

Q: What led to your decision to attend St. Francis?

A: I decided to attend St. Francis not only to be able to play Division I volleyball, but I fell in love with the community and atmosphere on campus. The smaller school size helps tremendously to balance academics and athletics. I receive support not only for being an athlete, but also a student.

Q: What is your major, and ideal future profession?

A: I am in the five-year accelerated physician assistant program at Saint Francis. As of now, I would love to work specifically in integrative health.

Q: Aside from volleyball, what has been your favorite aspect of college?

A: Although everyday revolves around volleyball, I love the community at Saint Francis. There is so much support in every aspect on campus. Teams are always attending other teams’ games, and it is not unusual to see staff and faculty in the stands. My professors and coaches understand that I am both a student and an athlete, and they support and help me in both categories.

Q: What was your fondest memory at Greater Latrobe?

A: Looking back at my time in high school, I think my fondest memory would be attending football and basketball games sitting in the Den.

Q: You come from an athletic family. How did that mold your career?

A: My family is the sole reason why I am the way I am today. My mom and dad were both collegiate athletes, so my siblings and I grew up always playing sports. My older brother Reed now plays basketball at Lehigh University, and my little sister Lily just committed to play volleyball at Notre Dame. At times, I definitely felt pressure to live up to a certain standard. However, my family is my support system, and they are always motivating me to work my hardest. Reed has definitely helped me navigate how to play a Division I sport and balance school work, and I am so excited to do the same for Lily.

Q: Your younger sister currently plays for the Wildcats. What is your relationship like with her?

A: Lily is my best friend, and I would not be where I am today without her. I probably don’t tell her enough, but she is my biggest motivator. We played together all throughout high school and club. She would always play up on the older teams, and we would run a 6-2, meaning we would both set. Not only was it a huge adjustment leaving her for college, but my college seasons have been the only times that I haven’t played on the same team as her.

Q: If you could change one rule about college volleyball, what would it be?

A: I think if I could change one rule about volleyball, I would allow blocking serves. My middle and I joke about it a lot, and I think it would be so much fun to do.

Q: Who is your celebrity dream date?

A: My celebrity dream date would definitely have to be with Zach Bryan. I am a huge country music fan.

Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A: If I could only eat one meal for the rest of my life, it would have to be my grandma’s pierogis.

Q: What is a little-known fact about you or a hidden talent you possess?

A: I might be the biggest dog lover ever. I have two Golden Retrievers, Lacey and Maya. My whole family has Golden Retrievers, so when we’re all at our lake house, we’re considered the “Golden Retriever House.”