FAIRBORN — New Bremen captured its second state championship in three years by beating neighboring rival Fort Loramie on Saturday.
The Cardinals won 28-26, 25-20, 24-26, 25-20 in the Division IV state final at Wright State University’s Nutter Center. It’s the third consecutive appearance in a state championship match for New Bremen, which lost 3-2 to Tiffin Calvert in the D-IV final last year.
“These girls were all a part of that (state championship team) two years ago, and they have been hungry and humble for their entire career,” New Bremen coach Diana Kramer said. “When I took over four years ago, I could not have imagined something like this happening.”
The Redskins had an early lead in the first game but couldn’t keep up momentum and lost. The Cardinals led throughout the second set, but Fort Loramie rallied in the third to win and force a fourth game.
Fort Loramie took a lead in the fourth but couldn’t keep it up, as New Bremen went on a 7-3 run to take a 20-17 lead and pulled away from there.
“It was a great match, a lot like I expected,” New Bremen coach Diana Kramer said. “There were a lot of lead changes and big-time plays. It just came down to the team that made fewer mistakes at the end, and we turned our defense into offense at the end and capitalized.”
An attack error by New Bremen gave the Redskins a 14-9 lead in the first set, but the Cardinals rallied late. After the Cardinals pulled within 23-20, seniors Taylor Paul and Macy Puthoff had consecutive kills, then an attack error by Fort Loramie tied it up.
Puthoff had a kill to give New Bremen a 24-23 lead. The squads played to a 26-26 tie, then Ashton Heitkamp and Josie Reinhart came up with kills on consecutive hard spikes to end it.
“You can never be satisfied,” Puthoff said. “We were still hungry and still wanted more. But once you get that momentum, that’s what pushes you through. That lead helped us get that momentum.”
New Bremen built a 15-9 lead in the second game and held on from there. The teams played even in the third, but New Bremen scored three straight points to take a 21-18 lead. Fort Loramie battled back to tie it, then rallied to win after a kill by Alyssa Wrasman and a New Bremen attack error.
Fort Loramie led 10-8 early in the fourth game but the Cardinals later scored three straight points to take a 17-14 lead. The teams played to a 23-20 score, then Ashton Heitkamp had a kill and Fort Loramie committed an error to end it.
The Cardinals finish 28-1 overall and should be a threat to return to Fairborn next year. The Cardinals will lose three seniors to graduation in Paul, Puthoff and Heitkamp but will return the rest of its roster of 15 players.
“They won 103 games in their career, which is absolutely unbelievable,” Kramer said. “They have put in the time and effort. People don’t realize how much time and effort they put in and how much time and effort their families put in to get better in the offseason. They’ve been with me for three years, and they’re like my kids.
It’s Fort Loramie’s second loss this season to New Bremen. The Cardinals won a nonconference match 3-2 on Sept. 22.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.