London Central wins D-3 volleyball crown
MANNHEIM, Germany — London Central capped an undefeated season Saturday with a victoery over Aviano in the Division III finals of the European Volleyball Championships Saturday at Benjamin Franklin Village Sports Arena.
In the Division I finals, Heidelberg downed Ramstein, 26-24, 25-21 and 25-19, while SHAPE overthrew Bitburg for the Division II crown, 25-16, 25-19 and 25-23.
London Central defeated Aviano, 25-16, 25-20 and 25-20.
“I am so proud of my girls. They rose to every occasion,” said London Central coach Susan Payne. “We have some young people who really stepped up and made a difference on our team.”
Senior Nicki Lasseter was one of those players, posting 20 kills, five aces and two blocks in the tournament. Freshman Kim Carnall led with nine assists.
Heidelberg overcame a rocky season and a rough start in tournament play Thursday, breaking out of the tournament cellar to beat Ramstein for the Division I title.
The Lady Lions recovered from losing twice on Thursday with a 25-10, 25-7 romp over Wiesbaden in Friday night’s final D-1 round-robin game.
The victory left Heidelberg, Würzburg and Wiesbaden tied for second with 4-2 records. Heidelberg won the tiebreaker because it won the highest percentage of games, earning the right to meet Ramstein (6-0) in the final.
“We took the long way round,” said Heidelberg coach Rich Bennett, whose team won all three of its matches on Friday.
“We’ve had a little bit of a rough season,” said Heidelberg assistant coach Jonathan Carr. “We didn’t quite have the big hitters starting out [but] slowly they started evolving.”
In the second match against Ramstein on Saturday, Heidelberg built an early lead and added to it as the game went on. By the time the score hit 19-11, Ramstein was forced to call timeout.
Ramstein rallied, creeping closer to 19-16. In the end, the near flawless serves of Megan Briggs and kills by Denisse Rivera were too much for Ramstein to overcome.
Briggs made 66 out of 67 serves in the entire tournament, 12 of which were aces. Rivera recorded nine blocks and 13 kills.
“Just to miss one whole serve in the tournament, with all that pressure was unbelievable,” said Bennett.
In the Division II final, SHAPE’s Alice Masutti and Heather Campbell were major parts in the upset of Bitburg, said coaches Robert Ramil and Pam Bartelle.
Campbell posted nine kills in the tournament and Masutti had three blocks. Charese Cruz added eight assists.
In addition to the player’s individual efforts, Bartelle credits her team’s determination and strategy, which helped neutralize the threat of Bitburg’s 6-foot-4 Nadia Parker.