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Georgetown College volleyball coach Nick Griffin enjoyed his team's success - advancing out of pool-play at the national tournament and finishing with a 36-6 record - for a few days and then has been back hard on the recruiting trail to ensure the high standard is maintained in the coming years.
The fourth-year coach is pleased to announce the signings of Courtney Grafton and Maddie Kunkel.
"Georgetown has always taken great pride in our team defense, and we are fortunate to be adding two of the top liberos from the hotbed in Cincinnati," Griffin said. "Courtney and Maddie bring outstanding athleticism, competitiveness and work ethic, which allow them to contribute early in their careers.
"We envision them combining with current freshman Kristen Schellhaas to form one of the top backcourts in the country."
Grafton is a 5-foot-8 libero from Ursuline Academy, which is considered one of the premier programs in Ohio under the direction of coach Jeni Case. The Lions captured the 2012 Division 1 Ohio State Championship a year after finishing in the Elite Eight. Other team highlights from Grafton's time at Ursuline include: two-time sectional champions and two-time district champions.
This fall, Grafton was named Third Team All-Ohio, First Team All-League, Second Team All-City and a Cincinnati All-Star.
She plays club volleyball for the top Elevation team. As she anchored the team at libero, Elevation twice qualified for the Open Division of the USAV National Championships, finishing 11th in 2011 and 22nd in 2012.
"Courtney has been competing at the highest levels throughout her prep career and will add tremendous experience to our young backcourt," Griffin said. "Not only does she have one of the best passing platforms I have ever seen, she is lightning quick, has a high volleyball IQ and possesses great court awareness."
Grafton is the daughter of Marc and Rose Grafton and plans to major in education.
Kunkel, daughter of 1978 GC graduate and Tiger football member Jerry Kunkel and Pam Sears-Kunkel, is a 5-foot-3 libero who played at Turpin High School, coached by Kathleen Carboy. A four-year starter, Kunkel was named a three-time First Team All-Conference selection, while helping the Spartans to a conference championship in 2011 and two other top three finishes.
She led the conference in digs two of those seasons, including 5.62 average per set in 2012.
At the club level, Kunkel has played for Northern Kentucky Volleyball Club for the past seven years. Her team is consistently finishing among the top squads in the Ohio Valley Region and also qualified for the USAV National Championships in 2010. She was twice selected as Triple Crown Standout Athlete at the Big South Qualifier.
"Maddie plays the game of volleyball at light speed," Griffin said. "Her internal motor never quits, which allows her to cover a ton of court defensively and impact the game in so many ways. Once she learns to fully control that speed, there is no limit to how good she can be. I can't wait to get her in the gym this fall.
Her major is undecided at this point. She is relieved to have the recruiting process over to focus on enjoying the rest of her senior year.