CLAYTON — New Bremen’s volleyball team secured the first state berth in program history with a 3-1 win over Fort Loramie on Saturday. If Loramie coach John Rodgers is right, the Cardinals will make school history on Saturday.
The team is two wins away from becoming the first in New Bremen history to win a state title. New Bremen will face New Washington Buckeye Central in a Division IV state semifinal on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Wright State’s Nutter Center.
With a win on Thursday, New Bremen would face either Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas or Lancaster Fairfield Christian in a state final on Saturday.
Rodgers, who guided Fort Loramie to a Div. IV state title in 2014, said New Bremen is sure to advance to Saturday’s game and is the favorite to win.
“They’re going to win it all,” Rodgers said. “I know Division IV pretty well, and they’re a solid team. Diana (Kramer) will have them ready to go.”
Kramer, who is in her second season at New Bremen and led St. Henry to state title game appearances in 2011 and 2015, didn’t make any predictions after Saturday’s win but said she’s confident with the team’s playing ability.
“They’ve shown a lot of determination,” Kramer said of the team. “They’ve been working towards this and they have a goal to win state. If we can keep playing with determination and not let our nerves get to us, we should be able to accomplish that goal.”
Nerves were an issue early on Saturday. Fort Loramie went on a 9-2 run in the first set and went on to win 25-19. After falling behind 14-13 in the second set, the Cardinals used strong serving to take a 19-17 lead and pulled away to a 25-20 win. New Bremen won the last two games 25-13 and 25-17.
“I told the girls coming out that they should be nervous because of the moment, but the nerves really caught up with us,” Kramer said. “We were making mistakes that we haven’t made all season.”
Senior outside hitter Paige Jones said the team will have to remain calm on Thursday.
“I think getting there is just the biggest thing for us,” Jones said. “I think we’ll be fine. Everybody settled down today as the game went on, and even if there are some nerves again (on Thursday), I think we can do the same thing and settle down quick.”
Jones, who is verbally committed to Michigan, leads the team with 584 kills and 106 aces. She was named first team all-Ohio by the state volleyball coaches association on Monday.
Plenty of other New Bremen players have played well this year.
Junior middle hitter Rachel Kremer, who was named second team all-state, leads the team with 59 total blocks. Sophomore middle hitter Macy Puthoff has 49 and right side hitter Julia Goettemoeller has 40. The trio has combined for 360 kills.
Puthoff, Kremer, sophomore Taylor Paul and junior Abbi Thieman have 25 or more aces. Four players have over 140 digs and Thieman and junior Madison Paper have over 430 assists.
“They don’t have a weak spot,” Rodgers said. “… When their serving takes over, they’re really tough to beat. That really turned the tables against us.”
Saturday’s D-IV state championship match is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.