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The Sigonella Jaguars celebrate a point during a DODDS-Europe tournament match at Vogelweh, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Jaguars defeated the Ansbach Cougars 25-12, 25-15.

The Sigonella Jaguars celebrate a point during a DODDS-Europe tournament match at Vogelweh, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Jaguars defeated the Ansbach Cougars 25-12, 25-15. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

The Sigonella Jaguars celebrate a point during a DODDS-Europe tournament match at Vogelweh, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Jaguars defeated the Ansbach Cougars 25-12, 25-15.

The Sigonella Jaguars celebrate a point during a DODDS-Europe tournament match at Vogelweh, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Jaguars defeated the Ansbach Cougars 25-12, 25-15. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Ansbach Cougar Eliana Vargas dives for the ball during a DODDS-Europe championship tournament match at Vogelweh, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Cougars lost to the Sigonella Jaguars 25-12, 25-15.

Ansbach Cougar Eliana Vargas dives for the ball during a DODDS-Europe championship tournament match at Vogelweh, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Cougars lost to the Sigonella Jaguars 25-12, 25-15. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Sigonella Jaguar Korley Jones returns the ball during a DODDS-Europe championship tournament match at Vegelweh, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Jaguars defeated the Ansbach Cougars 25-12, 25-15.

Sigonella Jaguar Korley Jones returns the ball during a DODDS-Europe championship tournament match at Vegelweh, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Jaguars defeated the Ansbach Cougars 25-12, 25-15. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Ansbach Cougar Emma Kabuye returns the ball during a DODDS-Europe championship tournament match at Vogelweh, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Cougars lost to the Sigonella Jaguars 25-12, 25-15.

Ansbach Cougar Emma Kabuye returns the ball during a DODDS-Europe championship tournament match at Vogelweh, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Cougars lost to the Sigonella Jaguars 25-12, 25-15. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Ankara Trojan Layla Moussa tries to block Alconbury Dragon Tella Barone during a DODDS-Europe championship tournament match at Vogelweh, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Trojans lost to the Dragons 25-6, 25-9.

Ankara Trojan Layla Moussa tries to block Alconbury Dragon Tella Barone during a DODDS-Europe championship tournament match at Vogelweh, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Trojans lost to the Dragons 25-6, 25-9. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Stuttgart Panther Julia Smith hits the ball past Ramstein Royals defenders during the DODDS-Europe Division I semifinals at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Panthers defeated the Royals 16-25, 27-25, 25-15, 19-25 and 15-12.

Stuttgart Panther Julia Smith hits the ball past Ramstein Royals defenders during the DODDS-Europe Division I semifinals at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Panthers defeated the Royals 16-25, 27-25, 25-15, 19-25 and 15-12. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Fans cheer after the Ramstein Royals score a point at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, during the DODDS-Europe championship, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Royals lost to the Stuttgart Panthers 16-25, 27-25, 25-15, 19-25 and 15-12.

Fans cheer after the Ramstein Royals score a point at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, during the DODDS-Europe championship, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Royals lost to the Stuttgart Panthers 16-25, 27-25, 25-15, 19-25 and 15-12. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Ramstein Royal Brittany Highley bumps the ball during the DODDS-Europe championships at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. Tthe Royals lost to the Stuttgart Panthers 16-25, 27-25, 25-15, 19-25 and 15-12.

Ramstein Royal Brittany Highley bumps the ball during the DODDS-Europe championships at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. Tthe Royals lost to the Stuttgart Panthers 16-25, 27-25, 25-15, 19-25 and 15-12. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

The Stuttgart Panthers and fans celebrate after beating the Ramstein Royals during the DODDS-Europe championships at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Panthers defeated the Royals 16-25, 27-25, 25-15, 19-25 and 15-12 to advance to Saturday's finals.

The Stuttgart Panthers and fans celebrate after beating the Ramstein Royals during the DODDS-Europe championships at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Panthers defeated the Royals 16-25, 27-25, 25-15, 19-25 and 15-12 to advance to Saturday's finals. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Wiesbaden Warrior Haylee Thompson celebrates after a Warrior point during a DODDS-Europe Division I semifinal match at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Warriors won two sets, but ultimately lost to the Vicenza Cougars 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 15-25 and 15-9.

Wiesbaden Warrior Haylee Thompson celebrates after a Warrior point during a DODDS-Europe Division I semifinal match at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Warriors won two sets, but ultimately lost to the Vicenza Cougars 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 15-25 and 15-9. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Wiesbaden Warrior Brigantia O'Sadnick has her shot blocked by Vicenza Cougar Adrianna Lovelace during a DODDS-Europe Division I semifinal match at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Warriors won two sets, but were still defeated by the Cougars 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 15-25 and 15-9.

Wiesbaden Warrior Brigantia O'Sadnick has her shot blocked by Vicenza Cougar Adrianna Lovelace during a DODDS-Europe Division I semifinal match at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Warriors won two sets, but were still defeated by the Cougars 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 15-25 and 15-9. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

The Vicenza Cougars celebrate after defeating the Wiesbaden Warriors during a DODDS-Europe semifinal match at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Cougars defeated the Warriors 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 15-25 and 15-9.

The Vicenza Cougars celebrate after defeating the Wiesbaden Warriors during a DODDS-Europe semifinal match at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Cougars defeated the Warriors 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 15-25 and 15-9. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Rota Admiral Tayla Irby gets a shot past Black Forest Academy Falcon defenders during a DODDS-Europe Division II semifinal match at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Admirals defeated the Falcons 25-20, 25-10 and 25-11.

Rota Admiral Tayla Irby gets a shot past Black Forest Academy Falcon defenders during a DODDS-Europe Division II semifinal match at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Admirals defeated the Falcons 25-20, 25-10 and 25-11. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Black Forest Academy Falcon Erin Fortune returns the ball during a DODDS-Europe championship semifinal set at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Falcons lost all three of their sets against the Rota Admirals.

Black Forest Academy Falcon Erin Fortune returns the ball during a DODDS-Europe championship semifinal set at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Falcons lost all three of their sets against the Rota Admirals. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Rota Admiral Janae Curtice serves the ball during a DODDS-Europe championship semifinal set at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Admirals defeated the Black Forest Academy Falcons 25-20, 25-10 and 25-11.

Rota Admiral Janae Curtice serves the ball during a DODDS-Europe championship semifinal set at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Admirals defeated the Black Forest Academy Falcons 25-20, 25-10 and 25-11. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Three European championship matches were arranged Friday as the second day of the 2015 DODDS-Europe girls volleyball tournament played out across the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

The top-seeded Stuttgart Panthers will take on the upset-minded Vicenza Cougars for the Division I championship in a matchup evocative of last year’s classic Germany-Italy clash between Wiesbaden and Naples.

The Rota Admirals will seek a repeat Division II crown against the Bitburg Barons just a few hours before the school’s football team plays for a DODDS-Europe title of its own.

A new champion will be crowned at the Division III level, meanwhile, as the top-seeded Sigonella Jaguars play the second-seeded Alconbury Dragons.

Saturday’s championship slate begins with the Division III match at 10:30 a.m. at Southside Fitness Center on Ramstein Air Base.

Division IStuttgart def. Ramstein 16-25, 27-25, 25-15, 19-25, 15-12: The top-seeded Panthers put away their season-long nemesis for good Friday evening, and in front of the Royals’ partisan hometown crowd.

The tense five sets featured countless long exchanges, diving saves and aerial encounters at and above the net. Coming at the end of two marathon days of qualifying play, the epic semifinal left its participants physically and emotionally exhausted.

Stuttgart’s Julia Smith said the hard-fought match was “too intense at times,” while teammate Janey Greenberg couldn’t fully enjoy the experience until the win was official.

“It was fun at the end,” Greenberg said after the Panthers’ post-match celebration. “It’s fun right now.”

Though Stuttgart ranked well above Ramstein in the regular season standings and tournament bracket, the Royals were nearly the Panthers’ equal when they shared the court this fall. Ramstein beat Stuttgart in five sets to start the season Sept. 19; Stuttgart needed five more sets to even the series Oct. 10.

Friday’s high-stakes rubber match was simply more of the same.

“The rivalry between the two schools is huge. It’s anyone’s game. It really is. That could have gone either way,” said Stuttgart coach Michael Rubino, who will lead his team in pursuit of the program's first European volleyball championship. “I told the girls to stick with it, and they did. It’s a testament to the hard work that they’ve done.”

Sixth-seeded Ramstein, which won three straight Division I titles from 2011 to 2013, entered the tournament facing the unfamiliar plight of the underdog. But the Royals stormed into the semifinal round Friday with an afternoon sweep of second seed Naples, the team that usurped their traditional spot in the finals in 2014.

Brittany Highley had 15 kills, Montgomery Sauter added 11 kills and Denee Lawrence chipped in eight kills and seven blocks for the Royals.

Vicenza def. Wiesbaden 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 15-25, 15-9: The Cougars either don’t have a star player or have too many to count. After Friday’s ouster of the third-seeded defending champs, it seemed more like the latter.

Another balanced barrage of Vicenza production was enough to move the fourth-seeded Cougars within one win of a European championship.

Vicenza has pursued European gold for many years at the Division II level and, as of 2014, in Division I. The Cougars finished third in last year’s Division I tournament; Saturday will mark their first appearance in a European championship volleyball match.

“It’s a long time coming,” Vicenza senior DeAsia Fairley said. Emma Knapp had 30 assists, Jordan Wakefield had 10 kills, Adrianna Lovelace collected seven kills, four aces, four digs and four blocks and Fairley chipped in eight kills and seven digs to headline a Vicenza victory achieved on the team’s own teamwork-oriented terms.

“We weren’t going to come in here thinking we were going to win,” said Wakefield, a freshman hitter. “We were thinking we just wanted to play our way.”

Stuttgart and Vicenza have played twice this season, with the Panthers winning both easily: a 25-18, 25-18, 25-7 sweep on Sept. 26 and a 25-8, 25-19 victory in pool play Thursday.

Division IIRota def. Black Forest Academy 25-20, 25-10, 25-11: The reigning champion Rota Admirals continued to race toward a repeat championship like a destroyer through a sea of dinghies, this time capsizing the second-seeded Falcons.

The triumph is just the latest for a self-assured squad reveling in another deep tournament run.

“We were playing for fun, and that really helps our confidence,” said Rota senior Janae Curtice, who had 16 kills in the match. “We’re all so supportive of each other.”

The top-seeded Admirals are also enjoying support from beyond their own bench. Rota’s berth in Saturday’s noon title match sets up an exhilarating day for the fleet of Admiral athletes, administrators and supporters in town; the school will face Ansbach for the DODDS-Europe Division II football championship Saturday at 4 p.m. at nearby Kaiserslautern High School.

“It really helps, because we’re kind of aliens in this gym,” Curtice said of the Ramstein venue far removed from the school's coastal Spain campus.

The Falcons made things hard on themselves with Thursday losses to Aviano and Bitburg, but salvaged a spot in the semifinals with a late Thursday win over AFNORTH and a Friday defeat of Florence.

Bitburg def. American Overseas School of Rome 25-23, 25-20, 26-24 The third-seeded Barons continued their unbeaten run through the bracket with a proficient sweep of the fourth-seeded Falcons.

“We told each other to stick to the basics,” Bitburg senior Allison Lillemon said. “One pass, one set, one hit to get to where we needed to be.”

Lillemon and fellow star hitter Elise Rasmussen put away 10 kills apiece, claiming the bulk of the prolific 26-assist effort by setter Hailey McKenna. Oddly enough for a team that only played three regular season DODDS-Europe matches, the Admirals saw and conquered Bitburg earlier this fall, taking a 25-13, 25-21, 19-25, 25-16 decision on Oct. 17.

Division IIIFor all its intrigue over the first two days of the tournament, the seven-team small school bracket couldn’t have ended more conventionally. Saturday’s championship match will come down to the bracket’s top two seeds and top two returning finishers from 2014.

No. 2 seed Alconbury clinched its spot in the title game early Friday after opening with four straight-set victories Thursday. The Dragons, last year’s third-place finisher, will look to claim their first European volleyball title since a Division IV crown in 2005.

Alconbury will take on top seed Sigonella, which turned away worthy upset bids from Incirlik and Ansbach on Friday to claim its spot in the final. Sigonella finished second to Florence, since bumped up to Division II, in 2014; the Jaguars won the Division III crown in 2013.

Alconbury beat Sigonella 25-11, 25-15 in round-robin play.

broome.gregory@stripes.com

Twitter: @broomestripes

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