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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

St. Marys takes down New Bremen in three games

By Robb Hemmelgarn

St. Marys' Jenny Brown, 12, winds up to hit the ball against a pair of New Breme. . .

ST. MARYS - In a quick tune-up before their respective conference matches on Thursday, the St. Marys Roughriders hosted the New Bremen Cardinals in a battle of a pair of teams each seeking some early season momentum.
Although the opening tilt was nip-and-tuck, the Roughriders controlled the majority of the match and sent the Cardinals packing in three games, 25-23, 25-16, and 25-13.
"We talked before the game tonight about coming in and staying focused," commented Roughrider head coach Tricia Rosenbeck. "We maintained our intensity throughout the game and to finish with a win is great for the girls. It was a non-league game, but they are so excited to get the victory. Hopefully we can ride the momentum into the Lima Bath game on Thursday."
New Bremen captured the early advantage in the opening game and kept the pesky Roughriders on their heels through the first half, building the lead to as many as three points on several different occasions. The Roughriders knotted things up at 11 points midway through the contest and from there neither team had more than a two-point lead, as they traded blows back and forth until the end.
St. Marys sophomore hitter, Jenny Brown delivered a kill to break a 23-23 tie and on the next serve, poor defensive communication doomed the Cardinals, giving the home team the 1-0 lead in the match.
Game number two continued as a tight affair, but the Roughriders methodically extended their lead to 10-5 and then blew things open when Kaitlyn McBride took to the server's line. The junior connected on four straight service winners to give her team a nine-point lead.
The Cardinals tried to make things interesting near the end of game two behind the strong serving of Morgan Russell, as she helped pull her team to within three points at 19-16. The Roughriders responded though, by scoring the game's final six points to secure the 25-16 victory.
"Near the end of the first game, the girls knew they needed to take control and were able to do that," explained Rosenbeck. "We carried that into the second game and, although we allowed a couple of runs by New Bremen, we were able to step it up in the end for the win."
In the third and what turned out to be decisive game of the match, the Roughriders left no doubt as to the outcome. With Jenny Brown delivering floor-shaking kills, as well as solid defense from the rest of Rosenbeck's lineup, the Roughriders rocketed in front, 11-1. Midway through the third game, the Cardinals cut their deficit to 15-8, but St. Marys was simply too much as it outscored New Bremen 10-5 the rest of the way for the 25-13 victory.
"At times this season, we have played some of our better ball when we are down," commented Cardinal head coach Ashleigh Hoenie. "We kept it close in the first game, but just couldn't get the win. Then in the next two games, we got ourselves in holes early. Each time it proved to be just too much to get out of. We need to learn that when we get down, we have to continue playing as a team and not as individuals. I didn't think we did a real good job of that tonight."
With the win, the Roughriders improved to 3-3 on the year, while New Bremen slipped to 2-4 overall. Both squads are back in conference action tomorrow night, as the Roughriders travel to Lima to face the Bath Wildcats, while New Bremen is at Fort Recovery.
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