This season’s volleyball success came early for Savannah Kjolhede.

Grapevine High School’s star senior middle blocker earned the most valuable player award for her efforts in the Texas Girls Coaches Association 5-6A All-Star Game on July 10 in Arlington. That gives her some early momentum as the Mustangs’ regular season gets underway Aug. 9 in the Marcus Showcase.

Even though Kjolhede led the Red team to the win in the All-Star Game – Fort Worth Star-Telegram writer Brian Gosset tweeted that she had 20 kills in the contest – she told Texas Scorecard that the honor took her by surprise.

“Just coming off of a huge win for the Red team, I felt that all of the girls on my team had done an amazing job and I couldn’t even guess who it was going to be, but when they said my name it was pure happiness,” she said in an email interview.

Not that any success she has on the court should stun anybody. Kjolhede, who has verbally committed to play at Indiana University, was a Class 5A All-State second team selection after last season. She recorded 360 kills and 172 total blocks, according to the team’s page on MaxPreps. That earned her Offensive MVP honors for District 7-5A.

Kjolhede said her mental toughness and hitting has improved, and she has upped her offseason training. 

“Volleyball is a very mental sport because of the tempo and how fast each point happens, and I feel like I really have started to understand the importance of a close-knit team inside and outside of the court as well as how important leadership is in a team,” she said. “My accuracy and court awareness has also been a growing aspect in my game and I cant wait to explore more this upcoming season.”

This year’s Mustangs will have to fill some holes from last season’s squad that went 34-11 and reached the regional quarterfinals. Kjolhede said seven seniors from the 2018 team are gone, but there is a lot of experience returning. Kjolhede will be one of four seniors on this year’s team. The players also have been doing some bonding and making progress in the offseason, she said.

“I am super excited for what this season has in store for Grapevine volleyball and can’t wait for an amazing senior year,” Kjolhede said.