RAMSTEIN, Germany — Ramstein returned to the top and Brussels and Black Forest Academy retained their titles before loud crowds Saturday in the DODDS-Europe girls volleyball tournament.
Ramstein captured the Division I title by sweeping Vilseck 25-13, 25-22 and 25-12.
Black Forest repeated its D-II title by knocking off Bitburg 25-11, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22.
Brussels, which won the D-IV crown last year, claimed the D-III title by rolling past Sigonella 25-11, 25-16, 25-20.
Ramstein, which lost to Heidelberg in last year’s final, defeated Vilseck in a match it dedicated to Steven Carter, the late husband of head coach Hia Sebastian. Carter died last summer of a heart attack while riding his bike near the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., Sebastian said.
D-I most valuable player Charnel Austin played big for the Royals with several powerful slams for key points.
"I’m very happy. Last year was kind of sad," Austin said.
Austin said the offense keyed the Royals’ victory.
"It’s just basically smart playing," she said. "We played them once. We figured this was the team we were going to play" in the championship match.
Vilseck gave the Royals a battle in the second game. The score was tied 10-10, 13-13 and 14-14 and Vilseck led 23-22 before Ramstein senior Mackenzie Banister quieted the Falcons fans with a big point to make it 24-22.
For the Falcons, junior Anna Muzzy played well at the net with key blocks and timely kills.
Vilseck coach Brian Swenty said his team couldn’t seem to get on track as it served several balls long and made other big mistakes.
But he also credited Ramstein’s ability to play together. "They are very experienced," Swenty said.
Black Forest Academy fended off feisty Bitburg as the 11th-seeded Barons played tough after getting blown out in the first game.
In game two, Bitburg sophomore Dalasha Bizzell had a key block to tie it 14-14, and the game went back and forth before the Barons won to even the match.
BFA looked unglued at times in the third game as Bitburg jumped to a 10-5 lead. But the Falcons stormed back and again the teams played evenly. There was a controversial call when a ball hit by BFA appeared to hit the antenna on top of the net, but was ruled good for the Falcons’ 22nd point of the game. Bitburg junior Jayde Robbins contributed throughout with several big kills and key blocks at the net.
Again in game four, the Barons took the lead but were unable to hold it as BFA took advantage of several Bitburg mistakes to battle back. There was plenty of fan support for Bitburg with people stomping their feet in the stands and waving signs that read "Let’s Go Bitburg" and "We Believe," but it couldn’t halt the BFA repeat.
"It was wonderful," Bitburg coach Eric Vining said of playing for the championship. "We knew they could play. Black Forest Academy is just a good team. ... it wasn’t like we gave it away."
BFA’s Anne Stefan was selected the tournament’s MVP.
Top-seeded Brussels blew past inexperienced Sigonella, half of whose players are freshmen. Only in the final game was Brussels pressed.
Brussels senior Kathleen Anderson, the D-IV tournament MVP last year, was selected D-III MVP this year, after delivering key blocks and kills at the net. She said her team knew nothing about fourth-seeded Sigonella coming into the match, but they were concerned about the Jaguars’ hitters.
The Brigands chanted "Fired up! Fired up" before the match started, and then built a 5-1 lead in the first game. "It sort of felt like a normal game," Anderson said. "We just stayed up for the whole game. Our passes were on point."
Brussels breezed to an 8-3 lead in the second game. Sigonella senior Emily Cartwright had a big block to make it 16-8, and the Jaguars fought back to 23-14 on a little tapper over the net by sophomore Liz Frost. Then Brussels pulled away.
In the third game, the Jaguars stayed close and were tied 14-14 before Brussels’ experience took over. Brigands senior Alexis Eperjesi had several big slams, including one that made it 11-7.
"I said Brussels was going to be tough," said Jaguars coach Shawn McCarthy, who is looking forward to next year when many of his players will be back. "We have the youngest team. It’s tough to compete."
Volleyball ScoreboardEuropean girls championshipsRAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany–Results from the three-day 2009 DODDS-Europe girls’ Divisions I, II and III high school volleyball championships which ended Saturday (Championship games and semifinals were rally-point best-of-5 matches; third-place games were rally-point best-of-3.):Division ISaturday’s resultsThird place—SHAPE def. Heidelberg 25-19, 25-19Championship—Ramstein def. Vilseck 25-13, 25-22 and 25-12Division IIFriday’s late semifinal resultsBlack Forest Academy def. Mannheim 25-18, 25-15, 25-10Bitburg def. Naples 28-26, 25-20, 22-25, 25-27, 15-10Saturday’s resultsThird place—Mannheim def. Naples 25-23, 15-25, 15-13Championship—BFA def. Bitburg 25-11, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22Division IIISaturday’s resultsThird place—Alconbury def. Rota 25-21, 25-13Championship—Brussels vs. Sigonella 25-11, 25-16 and 25-20