Mia Grunze action shot

Mia Grunze goes up for a spike during a girls volleyball match at Waterford High School this fall. Grunze, a 6-foot-3 senior outside hitter, was selected the All-Racine County Player of the Year in a vote by the 10 county coaches.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SHAWN THOMAS

Mia Grunze almost did it all during the girls volleyball season this fall.

The Waterford High School 6-foot-3 senior outside hitter put up spectacular numbers this season, set school and Southern Lakes Conference records, and earned Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association All-State first-team honors for the second straight year to cap off a season to remember.

Grunze led the Wolverines to an undefeated SLC regular season and their first conference title in 17 years, and also helped end Waterford’s winless streak against SLC rivals Burlington and Westosha Central that dated back to 2008.

Grunze’s performance, which included a season total of 570 kills and a .392 hitting percentage, netted her All-Racine County Player of the Year honors in a vote of the county’s 10 coaches.

St. Catherine’s sophomore Kelsey Carrington and Prairie junior Jolie Larson were also nominated for the top award.

“I know my coach (Ashley Ingish) told me she was battling to get me to win it last year,” Grunze said. “I was hoping I would get it this year.”

Grunze, the Player of the Year in the Southern Lakes Conference for the second straight year, blew away two SLC records. She had 150 kills in SLC play, breaking the previous record of 115 set by Union Grove’s Kaitlyn Wilks in 2009. Grunze also averaged 6.3 kills per game, breaking the record of 5.3 set by Burlington’s Quinn Spieker in 2014.

Grunze’s 570 kills this season are a single-season school record, breaking her own record of 441 in 2015, and she is also No. 4 (401 in 2014) and No. 7 (318 in 2016) on the single-season kills list for the Wolverines.

Her school-record career total of 1,732 is 634 ahead of previous leader Abby Beilke, a 2009 graduate and the first Waterford player to compile more than 1,000 career kills.

Grunze is also third all-time at Waterford in career aces (141) and blocks (142), and her career hitting percentage is .376.

What may be even more impressive about Grunze is that she was always on the court, rotating from the front row to the back row, with no dropoff of skill. So even though she was known primarily for her offensive prowess, she ranks No. 1 all-time in digs at Waterford with 1,212.

“Mia brought unmatched excitement and humble talent to our program over the past four years,” Ingish said. “Her leadership has been a key factor in taking the program to the next level, setting high expectations for future seasons.”

But it wasn’t all about numbers for Grunze, who will receive a full scholarship to play volleyball for Ohio State University. Grunze cited the play of her teammates as a major reason for her success and the team’s success.

“Overall, our chemistry was good and we played well together,” Grunze said. “We were focused and we were there for each other. We might not have gotten as far as we wanted, but talent-wise, this was the best team in my four years at Waterford.

“Our defense played well, other hitters picked it up and that all helped me out as a player.”

Behind Grunze, the Wolverines did very well in major tournaments, including finishing third at the Thomas More Joust in their first appearance in the tournament, and finishing second in the Oshkosh High School Showdown.

Grunze isn’t sure what her role will be during her first year with the Buckeyes, but she’s ready for the challenge.

“I’m really excited,” Grunze said. “Ohio State had a lot of injuries this year and they’re doing their best to keep healthy. I will miss Waterford for sure, but I’m definitely excited for a new level of volleyball and making new friends.”

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