They ran into a better opponent on this day, and their luck (at times) ran out. New Bremen lost an earlier advantage…and the Division IV title to Tiffen Calvert.
Fairborn – Diana Kramer made it a point to state the obvious. Even though the New Bremen Cardinals did not win the Division VI volleyball title on Saturday morning…”these girls are still champions,” said Kramer, fighting back tears in the post-game press conference.
And in truth…they came within five points in the fifth set of winning their second consecutive state title. But ultimately they fell to Tiffen Calvert 25-12, 20-25, 21-25, 25-22, and 10-15. It was Calvert’s first state title in volleyball!
Ironically, they started strongly, blowing Calvert out of the first match in a reversal of the manner in which started in Thursday’s semi-final round.
And in fact they led in the second, albeit their aggressive play at times got the best of them. Too many shots long, and beyond the end line, and little by little the Senecas fought their way back as a result. New Bremen led at one point 17-13…but from that point on Calvert went on an 8-2 run to win the set, the momentum, and ultimately the Division IV title.
They were, in fact, the best defensive team that Bremen had faced all year, and from that 17-13 point of the second match they got a hand on every shot that Bremen hit…or so it seemed.
“They were really, really good,” said Kramer afterwards. “And at times they were lucky, too. They had some moments…some shots that ran along the top of the net for five feet before falling over on our side. You don’t plan for things like that.
“Actually, they’re a team a lot like us, and they beat some good teams, like we did to get here. But you also have to have some luck to win a state title.”
It may have seemed like Bremen took their foot off the gas at times, but give credit to Calvert. They put on a defensive clinic, and adjusted to Bremen’s aggressive style of serving and hitting – their defense in perfect position for the final three sets of the match.
That said, however, the match became one of streaks – five points by one team, then five by the other. Bremen led at one point in all five sets, and seemed to have their best offensive efficiency when they were able to quick set at the net and drive the ball home before Calvert could adjust.
But Tiffen adjusted enough…enough to come back from a quick deficit in the deciding fifth game, and finish their title run with a 10-5 run.
“What a great experience for these girls,” said Kramer. “Because they’re tough, and you have to be tough in life when you’re my age and you have four kids. They’ll be tough personally, professionally, and when it comes to matters of health…because they come from a community that’s invested and cares about role models. And, they’re great role models.
“Every little girl in New Bremen knows who these players are and they want to grow up to be like them.”
New Bremen brings home the Division IV runner-up trophy with a record of 24-5.
Calvert takes home the champion’s trophy with a record of 26-3.
But important to note…the cupboard at Bremen isn’t bare. They graduate just four seniors from the state runners-up, and Kramer was quick to pay tribute to the future, as well as the present.
“When you consider that we come back next year and build around players like Macy Puthoff, Josie Reinhart, and Taylor Paul…and we have all those young players coming in the seventh and eighth grade, the future is very bright for us.”
Her competitive fire still very evident even thirty minutes after the conclusion of the her season, Diana Kramer added.
“But today…well, this was no fun,” she said.