New Bremen Looking for Back-to-Back State Titles

Staff Writer

The New Bremen volleyball team broke through for the school’s first-ever championship a season ago, led by the play of a transcendent player. Now they’re carved a new path and are looking to defend their crown.

A season after winning the Division IV state championship and becoming the final piece of the Midwest Athletic Conference championship puzzle, New Bremen (23-4) shook off a rough ending to the regular season, emerged from a meatgrinder of a district and then dominated two Shelby County schools to book its trip back to the Nutter Center.

“These kids are tough,” New Bremen head coach Diana Kramer said after the match. “They are really, really tough. I am proud of them and I am proud of this town.”

The Cardinals will face Monroeville, which like New Bremen is making its second-ever state trip, on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. in a Division IV state semifinal match. The winner advances to Saturday’s state championship match at 11 a.m. against the winner of No. 13 Tiffin Calvert (24-3) and Portsmouth Clay (24-3), who play at noon on Thursday in the match before the Cardinals take to the floor on the campus of Wright State University.

After knocking off a pair of top-five ranked teams at the district level, including top-ranked St. Henry, New Bremen dominated at the regional level. A pair of 3-0 sweeps of Shelby County schools had the Cardinals once again celebrating a state berth.

Their motto for 2018 has been “New Team, New Dream” after dealing with the graduation of a once-in-a-generation player and current University of Michigan standout Paige Jones. After jumping out of the gate strong, New Bremen hit a skid in the season’s final week, losing two conference matches. But New Bremen knocked off Fort Recovery and St. Henry — after falling behind 2-0 — at Van Wert’s district and springboarded to the Northmont region. There was never any doubt on Thursday or Saturday which team would be emerging.

New Bremen overwhelmed a young Fort Loramie program on Thursday night.  The New Bremen volleyball team (22-4) swept away Fort Loramie in three sets in a Division IV regional semifinal at Northmont High School, advancing to within a match of returning to the state tournament.

The defending Division IV champions ended Fort Loramie’s Cinderella run through the postseason. After ending the regular season two games under .500, the young Redskins got to the regional. New Bremen proved too experienced and too tough in the 25-22, 25-14, 25-13 win, however. It’s the second straight season New Bremen has ended Fort Loramie’s season at the regional level.

New Bremen was led by Macy Puthoff’s eight kills. Claire Pape added seven kills. After needing a comeback from a 2-0 deficit in the district final last week against top-ranked St. Henry, the Cardinals made quick work of their regional opponent.

On Saturday afternoon, New Bremen won 25-15, 25-13, 25-22 over Jackson Center, sending the Cardinals into a frenzied celebration.

Taylor Paul had a team-high 10 kills. Rachel Kremer added eight kills while Claire Pape and Macy Puthoff each had seven kills.