Volleyball: Fort Loramie, New Bremen to face off in regional final


Russia finishes 21-6 after 3-0 loss to Redskins

By Bryant Billing - [email protected]



Fort Loramie sophomore outside hitter Avery Brandewie spikes as Russia’s Miah Monnin, right, and Cece Borchers try to block during a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School’s Thunderdome. Brandewie led the Redskins with 10 kills.

Fort Loramie sophomore outside hitter Avery Brandewie spikes as Russia’s Miah Monnin, right, and Cece Borchers try to block during a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School’s Thunderdome. Brandewie led the Redskins with 10 kills.


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Russia senior Cece Borchers serves during a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School’s Thunderdome. The Raiders finish 21-6 overall and will lose nine seniors to graduation.


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New Bremen senior libero Abi Powers sets during a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School’s Thunderdome. The Cardinals beat Jackson Center 3-0 to advance to a regional for the sixth time in seven years.


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Fort Loramie sophomore outside hitter Avery Brandewie, top left, and junior hitter Skyler Albers, right, celebrate after the Redskins beat Russia 3-0 in a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School. The Redskins advance to a regional final for the third time in the last four years and will face New Bremen on Saturday.


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CLAYTON — After struggling to close out matches early in the season, Fort Loramie hasn’t had any recent problems finishing things out.

The Redskins are hoping to play consistently again — and without nervousness — in a regional final on Saturday.

Fort Loramie beat Russia 25-15, 25-18, 25-15 in a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School’s Thunderdome to advance to a final against New Bremen on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals beat Jackson Center 3-0 in Wednesday’s first semifinal to advance.

Fort Loramie (21-6) had three returning starters and five total returnees back from last year’s 21-7 squad. With many newcomers on the squad and young returnees taking on larger roles, the squad struggled early this season against strong opponents.

In a nonconference match on Sept. 5 against Versailles (a Div. III regional finalist), Fort Loramie won the second set 26-24 to tie it 1-1 but lost the third and fourth sets 26-24 to lose the match.

The Redskins beat Russia 25-17, 27-25 in the first two sets of a Shelby County Athletic League match on Sept. 15 but lost the last three to lose the match.

Then in a nonconference match against New Bremen on Sept. 24, Fort Loramie lost the first two sets 25-20, 25-16 but won the next two 28-26, 25-23 to force a fifth game, only to lose 15-8.

The Redskins have been playing consistently through tournament play, including shutting down the Raiders on Wednesday and beating a 14-win Covington squad 26-24, 25-12, 25-21 in a district final last Saturday.

“We’re excited about the opportunity,” Fort Loramie coach John Rodgers said. “It’s kind of a measuring stick after losing to them earlier in the year. We’re a different team now and better than we were before. We play more consistently and don’t get as rattled. I’m sure (New Bremen has) improved since then, too. It should be fun.”

Fort Loramie dominated from the start on Wednesday. Russia’s only significant lead was a 15-13 lead in the second game; the Redskins scored 12 of the last 15 points to close out the set and take a 2-0 lead.

“We’ve come out strong like that in matches this year, but we’ve not been able to maintain it throughout the match,” Rodgers said. “That tells me there’s a lot of growth happening with these girls. They’re really starting to believe, to understand, to trust each other.

“I think that was the biggest thing, that we were able to maintain throughout the match.”

Sophomore Avery Brandewie, a varsity newcomer this year, led the squad with 10 kills and four aces. Junior outside hitters Summer Hoying and Skyler Albers each had seven kills. Sophomore setter Jenna Barhorst had 22 assists and had four kills.

“It was a total team effort,” Rodgers said. “Our serve receive was solid. Our defense was solid. Jenna was distributing the ball extremely we well, giving those girls chances and opportunities to swing, and they were taking advantage.

“When I say we were clicking on all cylinders, that’s exactly what was going on. Everyone was playing their game and doing their job.”

The squad will hope to be clicking on all cylinders again on Saturday against the Cardinals (25-1), which finished the season as the top-ranked team in the state coaches association’s Div. IV poll.

Hoying, who was voted first team all-SCAL, said the Redskins will have to limit mistakes on Saturday.

In the Sept. 24 loss to the Cardinals in regular season, Fort Loramie had 35 attack errors while New Bremen had 18.

“We told everyone in the locker room before the game (on Wednesday) that if you make a mistake, we’re not going to get mad at each other, just come back and make the next play,” Hoying said. “That’s what we did (Wednesday).

“… It’s definitely mentality. You have to accept it. This is a game of mistakes. Every point ends in a mistake. You have to accept it, move on and make the next play. If you get down on yourself, you get down on your teammates. It’s best to just try your best.”

New Bremen had advanced to a state final each season since 2017 before losing to eventual state champ New Knoxville in a district final last year. The Cardinals have beaten Fort Loramie four times in the last four years, including in the 2019 state D-IV state final. The Redskins last beat New Bremen in a regular-season match in 2020.

New Bremen, which shared the Midwest Athletic Conference title with Coldwater this season, has won 14 consecutive matches since a 3-1 loss to Marion Local on Sept. 20. The Cardinals beat the Flyers 3-0 in a district final last Thursday in Wapakoneta.

“They always come out very consistent,” Hoying said of New Bremen. “They always have consistent serving, consistent attacking. Our block and defense has to be there, and we have to return with our own blocking and our own attacking and our own serving.”

It was a disappointing end for Russia, which finishes 21-6 overall. The squad had nine seniors on the roster, and after advancing to regionals the previous three years was hoping to earn a state berth this season.

But coach Aaron Watkins said it doesn’t detract from the group’s legacy. Aside from winning district titles and earning regional berths each of the last four years, the seniors were also part of squads that earned shares of SCAL titles this year and in 2020.

“I can’t say enough about them,” Watkins said. “They’ve put Russia volleyball on the map. They’ve been great four years, and we’re going to be great the next four years because of them.”

Russia senior middle hitter Kate Sherman will graduate as the program’s kills leader. Sherman, who was named SCAL player of the year, had 1,136 career kills to her credit entering Wednesday’s match. Senior setter Miah Monnin was also a four-year starter; she entered Wednesday’s match with 3,285 career assists and ranks sixth in career kills in the OHSAA’s all-time records.

The squad will also lose libero Jilian Chapman, outside hitters Kelby Doseck, Cece Borchers and Jenna York, defensive specialists Simone Puthoff and Lindsey Vastano and right-side hitter Audrey Stickel to graduation.

The squad will return two big pieces in junior outside hitter Carley Scott and junior middle hitter Roni Poling. Scott ranked second on the team with 199 kills entering Wednesday’s match while Poling ranked fourth with 131.

New Bremen 3, Jackson Center 0

The Cardinals beat the Tigers 25-15, 25-20, 25-13 in Wednesday’s first semifinal at Northmont.

Jackson Center finishes the season 19-8 overall. It was the program’s second consecutive regional appearance.

Macy Klopfenstien led the Tigers with six kills while McKinley Reichert had four.

Jackson Center will lose two seniors to graduation: Nevaeh Ledcke and Sarah Swiger.

Olivia Heitkamp led New Bremen with 18 kills while Rianna Paul and Mary Rindler each had five and Megan Reinhart and Alivia Dammeyer each had four.

Melina Schrader had 32 assists, six kills and six aces. Rindler had five blocks and Abi Powers had 19 digs.

Fort Loramie sophomore outside hitter Avery Brandewie spikes as Russia’s Miah Monnin, right, and Cece Borchers try to block during a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School’s Thunderdome. Brandewie led the Redskins with 10 kills.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/11/web1_Z91_8644-copy-1.jpgFort Loramie sophomore outside hitter Avery Brandewie spikes as Russia’s Miah Monnin, right, and Cece Borchers try to block during a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School’s Thunderdome. Brandewie led the Redskins with 10 kills. Courtesy photo

Russia senior Cece Borchers serves during a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School’s Thunderdome. The Raiders finish 21-6 overall and will lose nine seniors to graduation.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/11/web1_Z91_8509-copy-1.jpgRussia senior Cece Borchers serves during a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School’s Thunderdome. The Raiders finish 21-6 overall and will lose nine seniors to graduation. Courtesy photo

New Bremen senior libero Abi Powers sets during a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School’s Thunderdome. The Cardinals beat Jackson Center 3-0 to advance to a regional for the sixth time in seven years.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/11/web1_Z91_7575-copy-1.jpgNew Bremen senior libero Abi Powers sets during a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School’s Thunderdome. The Cardinals beat Jackson Center 3-0 to advance to a regional for the sixth time in seven years. Courtesy photo

Fort Loramie sophomore outside hitter Avery Brandewie, top left, and junior hitter Skyler Albers, right, celebrate after the Redskins beat Russia 3-0 in a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School. The Redskins advance to a regional final for the third time in the last four years and will face New Bremen on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/11/web1_Z91_8752-copy-1.jpgFort Loramie sophomore outside hitter Avery Brandewie, top left, and junior hitter Skyler Albers, right, celebrate after the Redskins beat Russia 3-0 in a Division IV regional semifinal on Wednesday at Northmont High School. The Redskins advance to a regional final for the third time in the last four years and will face New Bremen on Saturday. Courtesy photo
Russia finishes 21-6 after 3-0 loss to Redskins

By Bryant Billing

[email protected]

Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.

Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.