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Members of the Rota High School Admirals girls volleyball team celebrate after winning the DODDS-Europe  Division III girls volleyball championship in a five-set thriller over Menwith Hill.
Members of the Rota High School Admirals girls volleyball team celebrate after winning the DODDS-Europe Division III girls volleyball championship in a five-set thriller over Menwith Hill. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Members of the Rota High School Admirals girls volleyball team celebrate after winning the DODDS-Europe  Division III girls volleyball championship in a five-set thriller over Menwith Hill.
Members of the Rota High School Admirals girls volleyball team celebrate after winning the DODDS-Europe Division III girls volleyball championship in a five-set thriller over Menwith Hill. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Alex Furrow from Menwith Hill prepares to bump the ball to her teammate, Alexis Thomas. Rota's Brianna Ammons, left, and Natalia Rivera watch from the other side of the net.  Rota defeated Menwith Hil 25-23, 24-26, 25-7, 21-25, 16-14 to capture the Division III girls volleyball title.
Alex Furrow from Menwith Hill prepares to bump the ball to her teammate, Alexis Thomas. Rota's Brianna Ammons, left, and Natalia Rivera watch from the other side of the net. Rota defeated Menwith Hil 25-23, 24-26, 25-7, 21-25, 16-14 to capture the Division III girls volleyball title. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Junior Kaia Pierce of Menwith Hill prepares to spike the ball as senior Brianna Ammons from Rota lines up for a block attempt.  Rota defeated the Mustangs  25-23, 24-26, 25-7, 21-25, 16-14 to capture the Division III  girls volleyball championship.
Junior Kaia Pierce of Menwith Hill prepares to spike the ball as senior Brianna Ammons from Rota lines up for a block attempt. Rota defeated the Mustangs 25-23, 24-26, 25-7, 21-25, 16-14 to capture the Division III girls volleyball championship. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Rota freshman Aspen Luna shows off her leaping ability during a serve at the 2010 DODDS-Europe girls volleyball championship.  Rota defeated Menwith Hill to win the Division III girls volleyball championship.
Rota freshman Aspen Luna shows off her leaping ability during a serve at the 2010 DODDS-Europe girls volleyball championship. Rota defeated Menwith Hill to win the Division III girls volleyball championship. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Menwith Hill junior Hannah Huntington tries to get the ball past the outstretched arms of Rota senior Brianna Ammons.  Rota outlasted Menwith Hill during the five-set finals for the DODDS-Europe Division III volleyball championship.
Menwith Hill junior Hannah Huntington tries to get the ball past the outstretched arms of Rota senior Brianna Ammons. Rota outlasted Menwith Hill during the five-set finals for the DODDS-Europe Division III volleyball championship. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
The Black Forest Academy volleyball team celebrates after capturing the DODDS-Europe Division II championship Saturday at Ramstein Air Base with a 25-15,25-20, 25-17 win against Mannheim.
The Black Forest Academy volleyball team celebrates after capturing the DODDS-Europe Division II championship Saturday at Ramstein Air Base with a 25-15,25-20, 25-17 win against Mannheim. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Black Forest Academy's Kate Woodward tries to knock the ball past Mannheim's Emma Roberts Saturday at the DODDS-Europe girls volleyball championships at Ramstein Air Base. BFA defeated Mannheim to defend its Division II championship.
Black Forest Academy's Kate Woodward tries to knock the ball past Mannheim's Emma Roberts Saturday at the DODDS-Europe girls volleyball championships at Ramstein Air Base. BFA defeated Mannheim to defend its Division II championship. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Mannheim Senior Kierra Tucker goes up for the spike as senior Kara Brown from the Black Forest Academy tries to position herself for the block. BFA defeated Mannheim in straight sets Saturday to repeat as DODDS-Europe Divison II girls volleyball championship.
Mannheim Senior Kierra Tucker goes up for the spike as senior Kara Brown from the Black Forest Academy tries to position herself for the block. BFA defeated Mannheim in straight sets Saturday to repeat as DODDS-Europe Divison II girls volleyball championship. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Mannheim senior Kierra Tucker goes up for the kill Saturday during the DODDS-Europe girls volleyball championships at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.  Black Forest Academy knocked off the Bison in straight sets to defend its Division II title.
Mannheim senior Kierra Tucker goes up for the kill Saturday during the DODDS-Europe girls volleyball championships at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Black Forest Academy knocked off the Bison in straight sets to defend its Division II title. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Black Forest Academy senior Kate Woodward tries to get to the ball sent over by Mannheim's Asia Bliss during the DODDS-Europe girls Division II volleyball championships at Ramstein Air Base.  BFA won to repeat as division champs.
Black Forest Academy senior Kate Woodward tries to get to the ball sent over by Mannheim's Asia Bliss during the DODDS-Europe girls Division II volleyball championships at Ramstein Air Base. BFA won to repeat as division champs. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Wiesbaden junior Andrea Arnold lobs the ball towards the net during Saturday's DODDS-Europe Division I girls volleyball championship at Ramstein Air Base.  The Warriors fell in three straight sets to Vilseck.
Wiesbaden junior Andrea Arnold lobs the ball towards the net during Saturday's DODDS-Europe Division I girls volleyball championship at Ramstein Air Base. The Warriors fell in three straight sets to Vilseck. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Vilseck senior Anna Muzzy goes for a kill as Wiesbaden senior LeAmber Thomas, left, and sophomore Kirsten Velsvaag try to keep the ball on the Vilseck side.  Vilseck defeated Wiesbaden at Ramstein Air Base to capture the Division I DODDS girls volleyball championship.
Vilseck senior Anna Muzzy goes for a kill as Wiesbaden senior LeAmber Thomas, left, and sophomore Kirsten Velsvaag try to keep the ball on the Vilseck side. Vilseck defeated Wiesbaden at Ramstein Air Base to capture the Division I DODDS girls volleyball championship. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
The Vilseck Falcons volleyball team celebrates after winning the Division I title Saturday at Ramstein Air Base.  Vilseck beat the Warriors in straight sets to win the top prize.
The Vilseck Falcons volleyball team celebrates after winning the Division I title Saturday at Ramstein Air Base. Vilseck beat the Warriors in straight sets to win the top prize. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Vilseck junior Mariah Morris tries to spike the ball past  Wiesbaden senior LeAmber Thomas, left, and sophomore Kirsten Velsvaag during Saturday's Division I championship game at Ramstein Air Base.  Vilseck flew past the Warriors to claim the title.
Vilseck junior Mariah Morris tries to spike the ball past Wiesbaden senior LeAmber Thomas, left, and sophomore Kirsten Velsvaag during Saturday's Division I championship game at Ramstein Air Base. Vilseck flew past the Warriors to claim the title. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Wiesbaden senior LeAmber Thomas tries to drill a power shot past the arms of junior Sidni Beaulieu of Vilseck.  Wiesbaden fell to Vilseck during the Division I championship match at the  DODDS-Europe girls volleyball championships at Ramstein Air Base.
Wiesbaden senior LeAmber Thomas tries to drill a power shot past the arms of junior Sidni Beaulieu of Vilseck. Wiesbaden fell to Vilseck during the Division I championship match at the DODDS-Europe girls volleyball championships at Ramstein Air Base. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Vilseck junior Sidni Beaulieu, left, and junior Taylor Hall try to knock the shot back by Wiesbaden senior LeAmber Thomas during Saturday's DODDS-Europe girls volleyball championships.  Vilseck soared past the Warriors in straight sets to capture the Division I title.
Vilseck junior Sidni Beaulieu, left, and junior Taylor Hall try to knock the shot back by Wiesbaden senior LeAmber Thomas during Saturday's DODDS-Europe girls volleyball championships. Vilseck soared past the Warriors in straight sets to capture the Division I title. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)
Vilseck senior Anna Muzzy lines up a shot against Wiesbaden in the Division I girls volleyball championship Saturday at Ramstein Air Base.  Vilseck defeated the Warriors to take the title in three straight sets.
Vilseck senior Anna Muzzy lines up a shot against Wiesbaden in the Division I girls volleyball championship Saturday at Ramstein Air Base. Vilseck defeated the Warriors to take the title in three straight sets. (Mark Patton/Stars and Stripes)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Black Forest Academy was the only returning champion to retain its DODDS-Europe volleyball title, as new faces took the crowns in Divisions I and III.

Playing before rowdy crowds in the Southside gym at the DODDS-Europe 2010 girls volleyball tournament, BFA took three straight sets from Mannheim — 25-15, 25-20, 25-17 — to win its third-straight D-II title.

Third-seed Vilseck claimed the school’s first title since moving up to Division I three years ago by sweeping fifth-seed Wiesbaden in three exciting sets, 25-15, 25-15, 25-20. And Rota, the D-III top seed, hung on to beat a feisty Menwith Hill in a five-set slugfest, 25-23, 24-26, 25-7, 21-25, 16-14.

Division I After falling to Ramstein in last year’s final, Vilseck came charging into the title game, took control of the match early and held off a surging Wiesbaden squad that saved some of its best play of the season for the third and final set.

The two finalists were the teams with the best record in round-robin play. The Warriors, seeded fifth, tied with Heidelberg and SHAPE in round-robin play but had the best percentage of sets won among the three tied teams. The tiebreaker put them in Saturday’s final.

Warriors coach Linnea Velsvaag said this was the team’s first final appearance since at least 2000 and the Warriors, fighting a case of the jitters, didn’t warm up until it was too late.

But Velsvaag was quick to credit Vilseck. “They have such a strong front and a great setter,” she said.

That strong front was led by senior Anna Muzzy, who had 14 kills and earned Division I MVP honors.

Senior Kimberlee Akuna was hard to stop in the backcourt, totaling 17 digs and registering six aces while going 13-for-14 while serving. Junior Taylor Hall contributed four aces, 15 service points and 20 assists.

The Falcons — whose fans were among the loudest of the afternoon — lost earlier in the tournament to No. 1 seed Heidelberg, but won when it counted, said coach Brian Swenty. The team showered Swenty with roses after the match.

“It feels great,” said Muzzy of the final win.

Division II Working together like a well-oiled machine, BFA relied on a solid team effort to hold on to its title. The Falcons entered the tournament seeded third in its pool despite being the two-time defending champ.

“We don’t really have any stars, just a lot of good players that play well together,” said BFA coach Pat Woodward. “Relentless comes to mind.”

BFA jumped out to an early 7-2 lead in the first set on strong serving from senior Eliza Garrity, and Mannheim was never able to get back into the set. In the second set, Mannheim jumped out to an 8-4 lead with junior Rachel Lankford serving up an ace. But BFA clawed its way back into the game, taking a 9-8 lead, and never looked back. Mannheim fought its way through the third set, tying the score four times — 11-11, 12-12, 15-15, 16-16 — but BFA scored the next five points with the help of consistent serving from sophomore Natalie Bertrand en route to the win.

Mannheim sophomore Grace Gonzalez, who at the libero position was busy getting first hands on the ball, said her teammates were “disappointed because we could have played better than that.” With Mannheim scheduled to shutter at the end of this school year, the team wanted to go out with a bang, Gonzalez said.

Division III

The longest match of the finals belonged to Rota and Menwith Hill. Early on, however, it looked like Rota would put Menwith away in an easy fashion as the Admirals took a commanding 17-7 lead. Menwith Hill, it turns out, was only getting warmed up. The Mustangs pulled to within one, 23-24, before Rota eked out the first-set victory.

The tiny high school from North Yorkshire, England, used its momentum to take the second set, 26-24. But, with fans on both sides chanting loudly from the bleachers, the Mustangs fell apart in the third set, losing 25-7, before coming back to take the fourth set, 25-21. In the fifth and final set, Menwith Hill looked like it would prevail, taking a commanding 7-1 lead in the 15-point set. But Rota tied the score up at 14-14 and finished off the Mustangs 16-14, for the title.

Both teams were emotional after the game. "That was intense, Judy,” Menwith Hill coach Karen Ehrhard said to Rota coach Judy Scarbrough.

“It was amazing,” agreed Scarbrough, noting her team hadn’t lost any sets the entire tournament until facing Ehrhard’s squad.

Freshman Aspen Luna had some big plays for the admirals, with eight aces on serve and 12 kills. Sophomore Natalia Rivera also had a strong match, adding five aces and seven kills.

“There definitely was pressure,” said Luna, the Division III MVP. “We did it. We pulled it out.”

Ehrhard, in her first year coaching volleyball, credited senior setter Alex Furrow and her two hitters, sophomore Kaia Pierce and senior Monique McCreary.

“I’ve got a team of fighters,” she said.

svanj@estripes.osd.mil

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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.
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