Cincinnati Mother of Mercy senior Missy Harpenau may not be the best volleyball player ever to come out of the Queen City, but she’s close, according to an authority.
“Bryn Kehoe is by far the best player to come out of Cincinnati,” Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame head coach Donna Mechley said. “But Missy Harpenau is a very close second.”
While Kehoe, a 2004 graduate of St. Ursula Academy and the 2003 national high school player of the year, was busy leading Stanford to the NCAA title game and earning her third All-American honor this season, Harpenau was doing a pretty good impression of her own on the prep level.
Leading Mercy to its first state volleyball title since 1982, Harpenau, a first team All-Ohio selection, earned Girls Greater Cincinnati League, Southwest Ohio Volleyball Coaches Association and Gatorade (Ohio) player of the year honors. Add another laurel to the list.
Harpenau is the 2007 Huntington Bank/Ohio High Player of the Year in volleyball.
“She is the greatest player I have ever coached, and she keeps great company as a Mercy volleyball player,” Mercy head coach Denise Harvey said.
“Missy excels in all areas as a volleyball player. She is not just a specialized position player.”
Harpenau is definitely special, as is her game.
Listed as an outside hitter, the 6-0 Harpenau excels at all disciplines.
During her stint at Mercy, Harpenau racked up school records for career (1,093) and season kills (458). She also owns the Mercy record for kills in a game (33) set against Mount Notre Dame during the 2007 regular season.
“She is an extremely smart player,” Mechley said. “She can see the block. She can hit around the block. She just does a masterful job of picking a part a defense.”
That ability was on display in the D-I state final as Mercy outlasted MND 16-25, 25-12, 26-28, 25-19, 15-11 at Wright State’s Nutter Center on Nov. 10.
Against the Cougars in a rematch of last year’s state final that MND won, Harpenau led the Bobcats with a match-high 27 kills. She also added 20 digs and four key blocks.
The appearance was Mercy’s third at state in Harpenau’s four years.
“Losing to (Notre Dame) last year gave us so much motivation,” said Harpenau, who had to wear a bandage on her face during the game to cover a nose injury sustained in warm-ups. “We just fed off that. We all wanted it.”
Mercy, ranked No. 1 in the state, finished 28-1 overall and won the GGCL title with a 9-1 record.
In addition to Harpenau’s school records for kills, she also owns the mark for digs in a match (30) set in 2006. Harpenau had 348 digs this season and had a kill percentage of .338. Her serve-receive percentage was 96-percent.
As a junior, Harpenau was also a first team GGCL pick and was second team All-Ohio. On the club level, she competed for Team Z in 2007 and led the squad to a national championship at the Junior Olympics, where she was named tournament MVP.
Next season Harpenau will take her game to the University of Cincinnati. Her impact will be immediate.
“She plays remarkable defense, her ball handling is the best I have ever seen and adding her offensive power to the mix makes her unstoppable,” Harvey said. “She has a keen understanding of the game that makes her so dominant.”