Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
By Mark Ruschau
Wildcats and Rangers pick up victories
Division IV Sectional Volleyball at New Bremen
  NEW BREMEN - There were no surprises on the opening night of the Division IV volleyball sectional at New Bremen High School as the two teams with the better records - the New Knoxville Rangers and the Minster Wildcats - posted straight-set wins.
New Knoxville defeated the Spencerville Bearcats 25-13, 26-24 and 25-12 in the opening game, while in the nightcap, the Wildcats defeated the New Bremen Cardinals 25-12, 25-12 and 25-18.
New Knoxville will take an 11-12 mark to the sectional final on Saturday afternoon against the number-one seed and two-time defending state champion Marion Local Flyers in the opener at 3 p.m. Minster, 15-8 on the season, will take on the number-two seeded St. Henry Redskins for the other sectional championship, 20 minutes after the completion of the opener on Saturday.
Minster 3, New Bremen 0
In the nightcap, Minster came out strong and dominated the first two games and took a stranglehold on the match. In the first game, the Wildcats scored the first four points and 16 of the first 18 and were never threatened.
In the second game, Minster broke away from an eight-all tie, scoring 17 of the games last 22 points to post the win.
"We practiced hard all week and we definitely came ready to play," said Minster coach Ashley Rohrer. "We knew that New Bremen was going to come out and give us a good game, because they always do when we play them, and the girls came out strong and they played good defense, hit the ball hard and they served well."
"Minster is a tough team and they showed it," said New Bremen coach Ashleigh Raterman. "They see the court, they know where to put the ball, they found our holes and they took advantage tonight. In the third game, we started blocking better and we started to slow them down a little and we were able to push them a little."
Minster did indeed play well on both sides of the net in the opening two games. Offensively, the Wildcats had a balanced hitting attack and a great service game. Junior hitter Erica Fullenkamp and Delaine Wolf led the hitters with eight kills apiece in the first two games. On the service line, Minster recorded eight aces in the match with Dana Stucke, Meghan Baumer and Ellen Gruber leading the way with two each.
"I thought we did a great job serving the ball tonight," said Rohrer. "Dana did a great job, she had a couple of great serves for aces and she did a good job of placing the ball on her serve."
Defensively, Minster held New Bremen to just 18 kills in the match, including just nine in the first two games.
Not quite ready to have its season end, New Bremen came out and played some of its best volleyball of the night in game three. The Cardinals got a pair of kills from Jackie Niekamp and a kill from Bethany Webster to key an early 10-6 advantage.
Minster came right back scoring four straight points off three New Bremen errors and a kill from Fullenkamp to tie the game at 10.
New Bremen retook the lead for the last time at 11-10 on a Minster hitting error. Minster then grabbed control of the game as it took advantage of three Cardinals hitting errors and got a pair of kills from Wolf to score eight of the games next 10 points to take an 18-13 lead. New Bremen closed the deficit to four at 19-15 on a kill by Brittany Blaine but that was to be as close as New Bremen would get. Minster got a kill from Fullenkamp and a service winner from Gruber to rebuild the lead to 22-15.
New Knoxville 3, Spencerville 0
In the opener, New Knoxville used a balanced hitting attack and great serving from senior Mercydes Allen to post the win.
New Knoxville recorded 33 kills on the night as six different Rangers recorded kills. Jena Braden led the way with 11, including six in the second game. Taylor Elshoff had seven kills and Allen and Nikki Shreve chipped in five each.
The service game of Allen in the second game keyed her teams rally from the brink of defeat in the only competitive game of the match. Trailing 24-19, Allen nailed six consecutive to keep her team in the game. A kill and block from Braden cut the deficit to 24-21.
The Rangers then tied the game at 24 as Allen recorded a service winner, Shreve and Braden combined on a block and the Bearcats committed a passing error. Allen gave the Rangers the lead for good with a service winner and Shreve closed out the game with a block.
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