Games of the week
FootballStuttgart at Ramstein Saturday Somehow, the whirlwind of the first two weeks of DODDS-Europe Division I football has left just one team with an unblemished record – the Stuttgart Panthers. The outfit formerly known as Patch has been a revelation this fall, riding a high-powered offense and stingy defense to a pair of wins in as many games. They Panthers outlasted Wiesbaden 18-9 on Sept. 18, then handled Vilseck 41-20 on Sept. 26. It’s the latter outcome that should really concern Stuttgart’s opponent this weekend, the Ramstein Royals. Ramstein, the defending Division I champion, played Vilseck to a rugged 7-7 tie on Sept. 19. Though the transitive property doesn’t usually translate cleanly in sports, the stark fact remains that Stuttgart rang up 41 points on a Vilseck defense that had considerable success against the Royals. Riddled with injuries, this Royals team is not yet the equal of last year’s championship. But for Stuttgart, a win over the defending champs would be one more milestone in a season that appears destined to feature many more.
VolleyballRamstein, Wiesbaden, Alconbury at Lakenheath Saturday The Division I volleyball championship picture has grown more crowded and complicated since Italian powers Naples and Vicenza joined the ranks. But a gathering like Saturday’s is still worth particular attention. The Ramstein Royals and Wiesbaden Warriors enter the meet as the last unbeaten teams in Division I, with matching 4-0 records. It’s been pretty painless for the defending champion Warriors, who have dropped just one of their 13 sets to date. But they’ve played a relatively easy schedule so far, facing winless Division I rival Kaiserslautern and three lower-division opponents. The Royals, meanwhile, have been tested early. They played an epic five sets with Stuttgart on Sept. 19, finally surviving on a 15-13 final set. A week later, they outlasted Lakenheath in a 15-11 final set to win another marathon match. Lakenheath, always at least on the fringes of title contention, will have an appealing home-court opportunity to avenge that loss to Ramstein and knock off the defending champions all in one Saturday.
TennisInternational School of Brussels at Stuttgart Saturday Perhaps the two deepest tennis programs in DODDS-Europe will clash this weekend, as will arguably the two No. 1 contenders for the European girls individual title. Defending champion Marissa Encarnacion of Stuttgart has cruised early this season, including a decisive 6-0, 6-0 rout against Wiesbaden on Saturday. But her toughest opponent to date awaits this weekend. ISB junior Anouchka Laurent Josi is back from her sophomore hiatus and in furious pursuit of the European title that eluded her as a freshman. Josi too recorded an effortless 6-0, 6-0 victory on Saturday, with hers coming against Alconbury. The two girls aces headline the most imposing rosters in DODDS-Europe. Stuttgart features boys contender Sean Bushong and one of Europe’s strongest doubles units in John Grady and Evan Stuber. ISB boasts the defending boys champion, Fabian Sandrup Selvik, and a deep and talented roster looking to duplicate last year’s ISB sweep of the boys and girls doubles crowns.