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10-18-02: Redskins run the table
St. Henry goes 9-0 in MAC for outright title

Sports Writer
    ST. HENRY - With nine seniors playing their last game at Redskins Gymnasium on Thursday, fans knew that there was no way they were going out on a losing note.
    The Redskins completed a perfect season in the Midwest Athletic Conference with a 15-6, 15-10 win over the Cardinals in the regular season finale.
    St. Henry takes hold of its 10th straight MAC title in volleyball and 22nd overall in finishing 19-3 overall and 9-0 in the MAC. New Bremen falls to 10-12 overall and and 3-6 in league play.
    For the seniors, going out as four-time MAC champs is a prized accomplishment.
    "It's great to take a championship outright," said senior Sarah Poling. "It's always good to have a win on senior night."
    "It's been amazing," said Lauren Stahl. "It's exciting being senior night and the last home game. It's awesome. I can't wait for tournament."
    St. Henry coach Lori Schwie-terman did her best to keep her seniors on the court as much as possible. Poling, Lauren and Kim Stahl, Lori Bruns and Kylie Westgerdes started the game with classmates Marcia Naseman, Angie Beyke and Beth Niekamp getting plenty of playing time.
    "That's just our tradition on senior night," said Schwieterman. "If everything's going well, they're going to be in there. To their credit, they did a tremendous job."
    Everything did go well for the Redskins, although that didnšt mean the Cardinals were passive guests. New Bremen had some strong moments in the match and had a 6-3 lead in the second game before the Redskins came back and took control of the game for good.
    After two New Bremen mis-hits made it 6-5, Bruns tallied an ace to tie the game. Lauren Stahl and Niekamp followed up with a combo block to give the Redskins the lead, forcing New Bremen coach Lisa Thobe to call a timeout.
    New Bremen picked up another point but St. Henry began wrapping things up, scoring seven points over a few serves to make it 14-7. The Cardinals staged a small rally to get within four but lost the serve on a Lauren Stahl kill. A Cardinal hitting error sealed up the match and league title for the Redskins.
    Game one saw the Redskins start out strong, taking a 5-1 lead at the start. The Redskins mixed up the attack work between Poling, the Stahl's and Niekamp. New Bremen forced a few side-outs thanks to defensive kills by Anna Schlater but were unable to hit a whole lot of serves.
    "If (only) we could have served a lot more consistently. We missed three in a row in the first game when we had no chances to score a point," said Thobe. "It makes things tough when playing a team like St. Henry."
    St. Henry pushed the lead to 11-3 before New Bremen scored three straight to cut it to 11-6. The Redskins ended game one with four straight
points with a Niekamp kill being the game-winner.
    For the most part, Thobe was happy with her teamšs effort.
    "I was pleased," said Thobe. "We need to hit a little harder and think a
little smarter. But if they can serve a little more aggressively and keep it on the court, it makes your chances a little better."
    Schwieterman was happy with a good match before tournament begins.
    "New Bremen had a good offensive attack," said Schwieterman. "They're always scrappy. I think that's a trait of what Lisa does with them. ... We're just glad to put it away when we did. We played a quality team tonight and it was a great challenge to win another MAC game and another MAC crown."
    St. Henry's junior varsity wrapped up the season at 15-1 with a 12-15, 15-5, 15-4 win over New Bremen.
    The Cardinals open up the Division IV sectional at their home gym on Saturday with New Knoxville. The top-seeded Redskins will play the winners of the Cardinals-Rangers match in the third match of the day. The first match starts at 1 p.m. Admission to the game is $5 for adults and $4 for students.


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