Subscribe
Leilani Wojtal of Sigonella  spikes the ball during the DODDS-Europe Division III volleyball championship match against Alconbury on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Leilani Wojtal of Sigonella spikes the ball during the DODDS-Europe Division III volleyball championship match against Alconbury on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

Leilani Wojtal of Sigonella  spikes the ball during the DODDS-Europe Division III volleyball championship match against Alconbury on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Leilani Wojtal of Sigonella spikes the ball during the DODDS-Europe Division III volleyball championship match against Alconbury on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

Sigonella sophomore Marika Wojtal sets up a teammate in the DODDS-Europe Division III volleyball final match against Alconbury at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.

Sigonella sophomore Marika Wojtal sets up a teammate in the DODDS-Europe Division III volleyball final match against Alconbury at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

Sam Zitka, an Alconbury senior, hits a spike in the DODDS-Europe Division III volleyball finals against Sigonella at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.

Sam Zitka, an Alconbury senior, hits a spike in the DODDS-Europe Division III volleyball finals against Sigonella at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

Olivia Sealey of Alconbury tips the ball over the net during the DODDS-Europe Division III championship match against Sigonella on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Olivia Sealey of Alconbury tips the ball over the net during the DODDS-Europe Division III championship match against Sigonella on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

Members of the Sigonella volleyball team celebrate after winning the DODDS-Europe Division III championship over Alconbury on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Members of the Sigonella volleyball team celebrate after winning the DODDS-Europe Division III championship over Alconbury on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – Sigonella saved its best for last in the 2015 DODDS-Europe girls volleyball tournament.

After dropping straight sets against No. 2 seed Alconbury in early tourney play, the Jaguars emerged as the better team on the court Saturday, taming the Dragons in four sets, 25-20, 25-19, 20-25, 25-23, to claim the Division III title.

Sigonella entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed but Alconbury, after sailing through the tournament without a loss, looked to be the team to beat in the seven-team small school bracket.

But the Jaguars, the runner up last year to Florence, made changes heading into the finals - adjustments in tactics and strategy that kept the Dragons at bay.

“They had a couple holes on the court that we saw in the first match,” said Sigonella coach Shawn McCarthy. “We pinpointed those holes on the court and tried to hit them today.”

The Jaguars also had the green light to not hold back on offense. “Usually before we go up to try and hit or spike the ball, they have to have a 70, 80 percent certainty that they’re going to be able to kill it,” McCarthy said. “We dropped that down to about 50. We were much more aggressive today.”

With the win, the Jaguars proved they could dominate a match without a dominant hitter shoring up the offense.

“No one player has massive numbers but collectively they get the job done,” McCarthy said of his team. “Everybody had to chip in.”

Sigonella juniors Korley Jones and Kisiah Chandler combined for 18 kills, while Jones served up a pair of aces. Chandler, the tournament’s Division III most valuable player, also had 12 assists and two blocks. Junior outside hitter Kaitlyn Bean, meanwhile, was most dangerous at the server’s line, from where she landed nine aces.

After dropping the first two sets, a determined Alconbury roared back to take the third set by five points, but the momentum didn’t last.

“They were getting into our heads,” Bean said.

But “we bounced back,” Chandler said.

“Lots of communication and lots of love on the court, definitely,” Chandler said.

Alconbury coach Karen Walzer said her team felt the pressure of playing in a big gym before a boisterous crowd. “A little bit, the nerves got the best of us,” she said.

“But I do have to give Sigonella credit,” she added, “because they came out fired up. They were ready to go.”

“They definitely brought their all,” agreed Alconbury junior Ally Donely, who chipped in 22 assists and four aces on the day. “They were going to fight for it and they did.”

Also, for Alconbury, junior middle hitter Olivia Sealey had 12 kills and four blocks, and freshman middle hitter Tella Barone had 14 kills, six blocks and three aces.

svan.jennifer@stripes.com

author picture
Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up