Five-game thriller marks milestone for Lady Wolverines

Waterford players celebrate after a recent win. The unranked Wolverines are flying high atop the SLC this season. (Rick Benavides/SLN)


By Mike Ramczyk

Waterford girls volleyball coach Ashley Ingish doesn’t even know the last time her program beat Burlington.

That’s how long it’s been since the Lady Wolverines knocked off their rivals, who have advanced to state four of the last five years.

In an instant classic Tuesday night at Waterford, the Lady Wolverines knocked off the Demons squad in a back-and-forth affair, 25-22, 22-25, 25-19, 13-25, 15-10.

If a sixth game was allowed, it may have very well gone to Burlington, as both teams were evenly matched.

“It was a great battle tonight,” Ingish said. “We’ve been looking forward to this match all season because no one on our team or staff has beat Burlington before and we knew we had a shot this year if we played well.”

“We had a great practice last night and focused a lot on our communication. I thought that showed on the court tonight. I was proud of how the girls handled the intensity of the match, and especially proud of how we kept our composure after a tough fourth set and came back strong in set five.”

Senior outside hitter Mia Grunze, who stands 6-foot-2 and is headed to Ohio State University to play volleyball next fall, exerted her dominance in the match.

She led all players with 32 kills, slamming the Demon defense with a .534 hitting percentage.

“The game was really fun,” Grunze said. “Tough, but a good win. The key was serving and keeping them out of system.”

Grunze has become one of the state’s best players, and it was on full display Tuesday.

“Obviously when you play Waterford with a player as talented as Mia Grunze, you know that they are going to score their fair share of offensive points,” said Burlington coach Teri Leach. “The difference for us was ball control. In the sets we won, we felt like we controlled the serve. In the sets we lost there were passing breakdowns.”

Waterford senior Mia Grunze had 32 kills against Burlington Tuesday night. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

“We needed to capitalize on our opportunities and that didn’t happen tonight.”

Mia’s sister, Mariah, added 13 kills.

Setter Aspyn Krygiel totaled 56 assists for Waterford.

Anna Shipley and Mia Grunze both led the team with 20 digs.

Gabi Ramczyk added two aces.

For Burlington, Abby Koenen led the attack with 17 kills and a .341 percentage. Maddie Berezowitz added 15 kills and a team-leading 15 digs.

Kaley Blake had 50 assists, and Sam Naber added 14 digs.

Senior Brooklyn Vandehei had eight kills for the Demons, who dropped to 11-7 overall and 2-2 in the SLC.

Vandehei said Waterford’s outside hitters were strong and worked around Burlington’s blocks to find open spots.

“Our hitting placement worked well, but there was some struggles with serve receive to keep us in system,” Vandehei said. “It was a hard-fought match from two quality teams, and it could have gone either way. We never gave up and stayed together as a team. We all stayed positive throughout the whole thing and fought until the very last point. I think as our team continues to grow, we will be tough to beat down the stretch.”