Careful what you throw at New Bremen’s girls volleyball team. They may just overcome it.
“We’ve been playing with the attitude of ‘Bring it on’ all season,” Cardinals head coach Diana Kramer said. “We can’t control who we play in the tournament because of geographic location. While a lot of teams want to feel sorry for themselves, you can’t change that. There’s going to be times in life where you can’t change things and you just have to find a way to step up to the plate. If you want to wear a gold medal around your neck – you have to have that attitude. Bring it on.”
Normally separated by six miles, a volleyball net was the border between Fort Loramie and New Bremen on Saturday as the Cardinals earned their second state title in three years and capped one of the most impressive runs in tournament history with a 28-26, 25-20, 24-26, 25-20 win inside Wright State’s Nutter Center.
New Bremen, which finished No. 2 in the final Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association state poll, beat the No. 1 (St. Henry), No. 3 (Tiffin Calvert), No. 4 (Monroeville) and No. 5 (Fort Loramie) ranked teams in succession en route to the Midwest Athletic Conference’s 134th overall state championship.
The Cardinals (27-1), state runner-up last year, also beat No. 11 Marion Local and No. 19 Minster in the postseason.
It was the fourth year in a row New Bremen ousted Fort Loramie (26-3) from the tournament, the previous three coming at the regional level. The Redskins, who had won 14 straight matches since losing to New Bremen in the regular season on Sept. 21, were making their second state tournament appearance.
“We talked about no regrets,” Fort Loramie coach John Rodgers said. “Leave it all on the floor – every bit of it. Just looking at these girls you know they did.”
“It’s not easy,” Kramer said. “It is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Not only on me, but on my team, my family, my coaching staff and the community. It is taxing. But in the end you don’t want to leave any regrets.”
After surviving the first set 28-26, the Cardinals cruised in the second. Fort Loramie fought back to win the third and led 10-8 in the fourth before New Bremen closed with a 17-10 run.
“We turned our defense into offense at the end and we found a way to capitalize,” Kramer said. “Ultimately an aggressive serve won the match for us. That got them out of their system and led us to a state championship.”
Puthoff led New Bremen with 13 kills, while Josie Reinhart and Taylor Paul added 10 each. Claire Pape had 43 assists and Diana Heitkamp had 22 digs.
McKenzie Hoelscher had 18 kills for Fort Loramie and Ava Sholtis added 14. Maya Maurer had 47 assists.
The Cardinals lose three seniors who’ve helped Kramer amass a 103-11 record in four years. New Bremen’s junior varsity, eight-grade and seventh-grade teams lost five combined games. Tuesday over 130 junior high and elementary school girls participated in practice. Defending the title will be next year’s goal.
“That is why New Bremen volleyball will hopefully continue to reach excellence year in and year out,” Kramer said. “That’s the expectation. These girls are dreamers and believers. Little eyes are always upon them.”
Said Puthoff: “Our culture is so positive and encouraging. Winning is a by product of everything we do.”
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