Waterford proves hype is real with strong showing at Joust

With Mia (pictured) and Mariah Grunze, the Wolverines show promise to potentially join Burlington and Westosha as the SLC elite. (File photo/SLN)

 

By Chris Bennett

Sports Correspondent

The Waterford Union High School volleyball team entered its first tournament of the season seeded 22nd, and went home with a spot in the top three.

The Wolverines finished in a third-place tie Aug. 26 in the Joust Volleyball Tournament, which took place at Homestead High School in Mequon.

Waterford played at home yesterday against Union Grove in a Southern Lakes Conference dual meet. The Wolverines are off until Sept. 7, when they play a SLC dual meet at Badger in Lake Geneva.

“I was incredibly pleased with the determination and heart that the girls showed this weekend,” coach Ashley Ingish said. “This was the first year we have been invited to the Joust and the first tournament of this caliber that many of our girls played in.”

Ingish said she believes many in the tournament wrote off the Wolverines. Waterford spent the week working in practice to dispel such notions.

“I think many teams wrote us off as an easy win, but we proved many people wrong this weekend,” Ingish said. “We focused in practice on winning the serving and serve receive battle.”

Ingish said such focus helped the Wolverines get the ball to hitters who were hot, which led to more points scored.

Waterford beat Menomonee Falls, Lake Country Lutheran and Oconomowoc Friday in pool play.

On Saturday, the Wolverines played in what Ingish called a power pool with East Troy and Greendale, and split the two matches.

Each team finished 1-1 in power pool play. Waterford beat East Troy, and beat Greendale in a one-game playoff to advance to the championship bracket.

The Wolverines lost to Menomonee Falls in the semifinals in three matches. Falls won the first game 25-19 and Waterford won the second game 25-22 before Falls won the third game 20-18.

“We battled through many tough, back-and-forth matches,” Ingish said. “The heartbreak the girls experienced after losing in the semifinals shows our hunger to continue improving and proving ourselves on the court.”

For the tournament, Waterford’s Aspyn Krygiel finished with 158 assists and 47 digs. Mia Grunze tallied 92 kills and 63 digs, and Mariah Grunze finished with 59 kills and 59 digs.

Waterford finished 1-2 in a quadrangular meet Aug. 23 at Nathan Hale High School in West Allis.

The Wolverines beat Hale 25-11 and 25, 21. Waterford lost 25-15, 25-23 to Waukesha West 25-23 and 25-22 to New Berlin Eisenhower.

“We had some strong points, but overall the little things got to us,” Ingish said. “Our missed serves hurt, especially in the tight games.”

Krygiel finished with 62 assists in the quad. Mia Grunze tallied 33 kills, and Mariah Grunze finished with 20.

Ingish is expecting a reversal of the Wolverines’ fortunes in SLC play this season. Waterford finished 2-5 in SLC matches last season, but Ingish expects the Wolverines to challenge for the conference crown this season.

Burlington and Westosha Central are also expected to challenge. Waterford entered last season’s conference tournament seeded sixth and finished third.

“We will be exceptionally strong at the outside hitter position, with returning First Team All-State and SLC Player of the Year Mia Grunze,” Ingish said. “Her younger sister, Mariah Grunze, will be our other outside hitter.”

 

 

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