Cardinals Block Fort Loramie; Face Tigers Next

New Bremen’s Claire Pape (12) and Rachel Kremer (7) look to block Fort Lorame’s Marissa Meiring’s shot over the net during a Division IV regional semifinal volleyball game on Thursday.
Sports Editor

The New Bremen Cardinals took care of business on Thursday and for that, they will have a rematch with a familiar foe.

The No. 3 ranked Cardinals frustrated Fort Loramie’s outside hitters and did not let the Redskins get into any rhythm in a 25-22, 25-14, 25-13 Division IV regional semifinal sweep on Thursday at Northmont High School.

Next up? No. 6 Jackson Center (22-3) — who defeated fellow Shelby County Athletic League foe Russia 25-11, 23-25, 25-19, 25-21 in the second game Thursday — for the right to go to state at 2 p.m. Saturday.

“We played our most complete match in the entire year,” Cardinals coach Diana Kramer said. “We controlled from the service line, we didn’t get aced all night — knock on wood — and our attackers were swinging away. Everybody in the front row had at least five or six kills.

“And we are hard to beat when we are passing the ball to our targets.”

New Bremen’s (22-4) front line produced 10 blocks and 38 kills to stymie the Redskins (14-13), and Claire Pape was a big part of that.

Pape finished with seven kills and led the Cardinals with four blocks.

“She was a player who stepped up tonight,” Kramer said. “Claire did a really job of blocking balls and shutting down their outside hitters. Their outside hitters are the leaders on their team and they did not lead them tonight because of her blocking the ball and because we kept on playing defense to get them out of system.”

Pape recorded a block and a pair of kills early on in the first set to push New Bremen to a 10-5 lead. The Cardinals eventually led by as much as eight points, 13-5, but Fort Loramie grabbed some momentum with its solid defense to take a 17-16 lead as part of a 12-3 run.

Josie Reinhart, however, tipped the ball at the net, over a pair of Fort Loramie players to tie the game at 17-17 and catapulting New Bremen into a 8-5 run to take the first set. 

Four unforced errors by Fort Loramie and five service points from Rachel Kremer — including an ace — led the way to the Cardinals’ advantage at the end of the set.

The closest the Redskins got in the second set was when Fort Loramie trailed 11-10, but the Cardinals closed out the set on a 14-4 run, which included a kill and ace from Kremer, a pair of blocks from the Cardinals’ front row and a thunderous kill by Pape to take a commanding 2-0 lead.

New Bremen jumped out to a 10-5 lead in set No. 3 thanks to four service points from Madison Pape — including a block, unforced Fort Loramie error and a Claire Pape kill to make it 8-4 — followed by four service points from Diana Heitkamp to eventually push the lead to 14-5.

Continuing the front row’s dominance, the Cardinals scored four of the game’s final eight points via kills.

Saturday’s matchup will mark the third straight year these two teams have met in the regional tournament. The Tigers knocked the Cardinals out of the postseason in 2016, en route to a second straight state championship, and the Cardinals returned the favor last season on their way to their first state title in school history.