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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Judging from Thursday’s early results, traveling from Turkey to the DODDS-Europe girls Division III volleyball tournament proved worth the trip.

"This is the farthest we’ve ever gone in this tournament," Ankara coach Jed Bernstein said after his unbeaten Lady Trojans claimed two pool-play victories to open the three-day event. Ankara downed the International School of Florence, a first-time entrant, 25-15, 15-25, 16-14 in its opener, then returned to stop Azores-based Lajes 25-8, 26-24 in an intercontinental showdown matching a team from the mid-Atlantic against one from Asia Minor.

"We were pretty tight," Ankara’s Carys Degenhardt, a sophomore, said about the Lady Trojans’ opener, a condition that might have been attributable partially to travel fatigue. She added, however, that her team figured to be fresh enough in its final two games later Thursday. "We should be fine," she said.

Senior Micaela Ramirez was the most on-target server in the victory over Florence. She put 15 into play in the three games.

Degenhardt led the way in the Lajes match with 11.

"It’s all about serves," Bernstein said. "If you get it in, you’ll do well."

Unbeaten Ramstein made short work of defending champion Heidelberg in its D-I opener, 25-9, 25-10, but No. 2 seed Patch wasn’t so lucky.

The Panthers lost twice — 21-25, 25-16, 8-15 to No. 9 Lakenheath and 20-25, 16-25 to No. 3 SHAPE.

Defending D-II champ Black Forest Academy, the No. 1 seed, beat Bitburg 20-25, 25-18, 15-8 in its opener. No. 3 Naples, unbeaten coming in, encountered a speed bump in its D-II opener, losing to American Schools in Italy League rival Marymount International School of Rome, seeded second, 23-25, 25-19, 10-15.

"We would have preferred to win," Naples coach Claudia Scherillo said, "but they’re a good team. We always have good games against them."

Mounting good games, even in defeat, provided an encouraging sign for Incirlik senior Madison Hall. The Lady Hodjas dropped their early matches, 4-25, 16-25 to defending D-III champion Brussels and 17-25, 16-25 to Rota.

"We’re a lot better than last year," Hall said. "We’re more focused. Last year, we were giving games away. This year, we’re making them earn them."

Rota’s Gabby Rivera, who posted five kills in the straight-sets triumph over Incirlik, said the fact that her team enjoyed reasonably large leads in both games shouldn’t make any difference when the going will get tougher.

"It shouldn’t matter whom we’re playing," she said. "We should play the same way against every team."

Rota’s biggest problem Thursday morning, Rivera said, was a cool fall day in Germany.

"It’s warm in Spain," she said. "Some of our girls came unprepared for the cold."

Play was to continue Thursday and all day Friday at the Vogelweh gym and at Ramstein Southside. D-I and D-II are to complete pool play and move into the quarterfinals and semifinals on Friday; D-II is to complete its pool play and hold its semis on Friday evening. Saturday’s third-place and championship games are to be played at Ramstein Southside, beginning at 8:30 a.m. There is no admission charge.

European championshipsKAISERSLAUTERN, Germany—First-day pool-play results Thursday in the DODDS-Europe girls volleyball championships, which end Saturday at Ramstein Southside gym. Pool-play games are rally-point best-of-three; quarterfinals, semifinals and finals are rally-point best-of-five:

Division IKaiserslautern def. Vilseck 16-25, 25-19, 15-13Ramstein def. Heidelberg 25-9, 25-10Ramstein def. Kaiserslautern 25-14, 25-13Vilseck def. Heidelberg 25-12, 25-19Lakenheath def. Patch 25-21, 16-25, 15-8SHAPE def. Frankfurt International School 25-17, 25-19SHAPE def. Patch 25-20, 25-16Heidelberg def. Kaiserslautern 25-20, 25-18Ramstein def. Vilseck 25-14, 25-22FIS def. Wiesbaden 2-1 (game scores unavailable)

Division IIMarymount International School of Rome def. American Overseas School of Rome 25-11, 25-18Bamberg def. Baumholder 25-13, 25-11Mannheim def. AOSR 25-17, 25-21Milan def. Ansbach 25-18, 25-15Marymount def. Naples 25-23, 19-25, 15-10Mannheim def. Baumholder 27-29, 25-6, 15-10Black Forest Academy def. Bitburg 20-25, 25-18, 15-8Vicenza def. Aviano 25-19, 25-12Vicenza def. AFNORTH 25-13, 25-11Milan def. Bitburg 25-22, 25-23Hohenfels def. Baumholder 2-0 (game scores unavailable)Bamberg def. Hohenfels 2-0 (game scores unavailable)Black Forest Academy def. AFNORTH 2-0 (game scores unavailable)Bitburg def. Aviano 2-0 (game scores unavailable)

Division IIIAnkara def. International School of Florence 25-15, 15-25, 16-14Brussels def. Incirlik 25-4, 25-16Ankara def. Lajes 25-8, 26-24Rota def. Incirlik 25-17, 25-16Menwith Hill def Lajes 2-0 (game scores unavailable)Alcionbury def. Florence 25-16, 25-14Brussels def. Sigonella 25-11, 19-25, 15-7Alconbury def. Menwith Hill 25-13, 25-12Sigonella def. Rota 25-10, 26-24

Mediterranean championshipAVIANO AIR BASE, Italy – First-day pool-play results Thursday in the DODDS-Europe boys high school Mediterranean volleyball championship, which ends Saturday. Pool-play games are rally-point best-of-three; semifinals and championship games are rally-point best-of-five:Milan def. American Overseas School of Rome 25-18, 25-22Vicenza def. Incirlik 25-10, 25-15Aviano def. Milan 25-18, 25-16Vicenza def. AOSR 25-20, 25-15Aviano def. Incirlik 25-16, 25-6Marymount def. Ankara 25-13, 25-16Naples def. Sigonella 25-19, 24-26, 28-26Naples def. Ankara 25-11, 25-16

Noteworthy—Play continues at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the base and high school gyms.


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