Katherine Carlson of Notre Dame Prep is Miss Volleyball

Katherine Carlson of Notre Dame Prep is Miss Volleyball


Katherine Carlson of Notre Dame Prep is Miss Volleyball


Katherine Carlson from Lake Orion has her portrait taken with the Miss Volleyball trophy at the Miss Volleyball award presentation on Monday, Nov. 17, 2014 at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep High School in Pontiac.

Tanya Carlson was an All-State volleyball player at Pontiac Catholic in 1988 and 89.

About 18 years ago she started coaching at the school renamed Notre Dame Prep, assisting longtime coach Betty Wroubel, whom she ran into while attending a basketball game.

It was about that time she gave birth to Katherine, who literally grew up in the gym.

“Literally, since the day Katherine was born she has been in the gym,” said Tanya. “She’s a gym rat. She has always been around it. She was around when Molly Coldren was there. She was the team mascot, running around at practice, shagging balls and doing her thing.”

Basketball and soccer were always Katherine’s favorite sports.

“Quite honestly she could’ve been better in basketball,” said Tanya.

Michigan Miss Volleyball – Katherine Carlson

She turned out not to be bad in volleyball.

On Monday in one of the best fields ever assembled for Miss Volleyball candidates in the state of Michigan, the coaches tabbed Carlson as the 2014 winner.

Carlson, the first winner from the school, received 177 votes. Second place was Katie Placek of Traverse City West with 116, Nicole Rightnowar of Temperance Bedford with 110; Laura Willson of North Branch with 91 and Jenna Lerg of Farmington Hills Mercy with 91. The award is presented by the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association and the Free Press.

Katherine Carlson talks after winning Miss Volleyball

She entered a dark gym with her mom and couldn’t nearly walk as he approached the podium.

“I had no idea what was going on,” said Carlson. “Ms. Wroubel told me I won Miss Volleyball and I couldn’t believe it.

“My mom had said she lost her wedding ring and she was cleaning out my car yesterday. She was ‘oh I think I left it in your car.’ She pulled me out of class. I had to get my keys and go look for it.’ Then she said she had something to do in the gym and she wanted me to come with her. All of a sudden it’s dark and I see these lights flashing.”

Carlson currently sits at 991 kills this season and 3,165 career for her career heading into Tuesday’s quarterfinal against Dearborn Divine Child at Clawson High School.

“I totally anticipate that she will go over the 1,000 kill mark for the second straight season on this Tuesday,” said Wroubel. “This is simply just an incredible accomplishment.

“From my vantage point I cannot think of a more deserving player than Katherine Carlson. Her skill is just one thing but her love and passion, not only for the game but her teammates sets Katherine above any athlete that I have known or coached. In addition to being a great player and teammate Katherine is also an excellent student and is involved in her community.”

Carlson had a chance to showcase her talents last year in helping the Irish capture the Class B state title.

This year she has the team on track to get to Battle Creek again after a huge regional final victory at Marysville against All-American Ali Bastianelli on her home floor by coming up with 21 kills.

The 5-foot-11 outside hitter was first team All-State as a junior and was first-team All-American by Maxpreps. She was also was named first-team All-State as a sophomore. After being recruited by Notre Dame, Duke, Western Michigan, and George Washington Carlson committed to Valparaiso.

In the classroom she has a 4.37 grade-point average.

“She makes everything look so fluid and easy,” said Wroubel.

In a field that was so impressive that two Division 1 recruits weren’t on the list, both Tanya and Wroubel believed Carlson drew the attraction of coaches because of her love of the game exhibited in her play.

“It wasn’t until freshman year that she developed that true passion for volleyball,” said Tanya. “I never pushed her because it was my favorite sport. We wanted her to be a three-sport athlete. At first she seemed to gravitate towards basketball and soccer. My husband and I were big on multi-sports, using different muscle groups, different teammates; different coaches.

“I was actually surprised when she developed this huge, huge passion for volleyball.”

Carlson said basketball was her favorite sport until high school.

“It changed because I grew a little bit and I enjoyed it more,” said Carlson. “I just enjoyed hitting the ball and getting that kill. I had a passion for the game and I think that what really drove me to where I am today.”

Ashley Knutson, one of Carlson’s best friends on the team said: “It was great to see how happy she was. She plays with a lot of heart. She plays not only for herself, but for her teammates. All of her accomplishments; she always comes back to us and tell us how great we are to help her.

“She’s always very humble about her accomplishments.”

Past Miss Volleyball winners

2003: LinseyTaatjes, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern

2004: Angie McGinnis, Fraser

2005: Stephanie Booms, Marysville

2006: Alisha Glass, Leland

2007: Lauren Jones, East Kentwood

2007: KyndraAbron, Livonia Churchill

2008: Olivia Kohler, North Branch

2009: Alexandra Cocklin, Birmingham Marian

2010: Jordan Fish, North Branch

2011: Maddy Doyle, Farmington Hills Mercy

2012: Amanda McKinzie, Battle Creek St. Philip

2013: Carli Snyder, Macomb Dakota

Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or pafarrell@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.


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