MEDINA — The MVP of almost every All-Star Game in every sport is awarded to an athlete on the winning team.
Wadsworth middle hitter Kenzie Grice was too impressive to be overlooked on Wednesday night.
MVP Grice led all players with 10 kills and six blocks — and was the dominant force at the net from start to finish — as Team Schuler dropped a 25-21, 28-26, 25-21 decision to Team Pew at the annual Medina County Senior All-Star Match.
Stacy Witschey dished out a match-high 16 assists, Lindsay Carr had four kills and two rejections and Alaina Coote added two aces as all four Grizzlies put an exclamation point on their superb postseason that included a trip to the Norwalk Division I Regional semifinals.
“I’m extremely grateful to all of the people who organized this event,” Grice said. “Volleyball has been such a big part of my life, this will be a great memory that I’ll always carry with me.
“Being able to play with my Wadsworth girls one last time — and getting to know the players from Buckeye and Medina on our team — was very special. It was so much fun.”
Brunswick middle hitter Maddy Neitzel collected seven kills and three rejections for the victors, who were piloted by Highland’s Jenna Pew in her All-Star coaching debut.
Cloverleaf middle hitter Brooke Swain had nine kills, Highland outside hitter Alyssa Sabol fired eight and Brunswick defensive specialist Kayla Coughlin delivered a match-best five aces. Swain accounted for the final two points in the decisive second game with a kill and a block.
“I had a great time and I know our team did, too, because we had a really nice mesh of personalities,” Pew said. “Brooke and both of our Brunswick players were so much fun to be around.
“I think Kayla sometimes gets overlooked because of (All-Ohio junior libero Rachael Crucis) on her team, but I absolutely love the way her small frame covers so much court area in the back row.”
Jamie Briggs of the Colts had 13 assists and Black River’s Erica Benson posted nine helpers and two kills. Highland outside hitter Madi Sima added seven kills en route to the three-game sweep.
“We just clicked as a team, but I honestly didn’t expect (Neitzel) to be able to get up as high as she did in the middle,” a chuckling Briggs said. “She made me look good out there. I needed that because I felt bad that I couldn’t make a good set to (Sabol) no matter how hard I tried.”
Team Schuler, led by Buckeye’s Tom Schuler, received four aces from Bucks libero Katie Lyons, six kills from Medina outside hitter Rachel Hawk and four kills from Bees outside hitter Alyssa Hudak.
“We really got along well with the Wadsworth girls and communicated well with them on the court,” Lyons said. “It was neat being able to play with them because we’ve heard so much about their team, but wouldn’t have had the chance without this match.”
Grice and Hawk also earned the most important off-court honor as recipients of $250 academic scholarships awarded by Medina County All-Star Volleyball Association chairman Chris Freeman.