Rangers ousted in quarterfinals of own tourney

Published 8:16 am Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cassopolis started off its volleyball campaign by hosting an eight-team tournament with New Buffalo capturing the crown by nearly going unscathed during the eight hours.

Climax-Scotts earned a thrilling one-point victory as a New Buffalo serve drilled the net for a 25-24 outcome with New Buffalo avenging the loss with a convincing 25-12 trouncing.

“The girls put in the time this summer and have worked really hard,” noted New Buffalo coach Susan Seifert. “We had a starter (Hannah Ward) miss today because of the Berrien County Fair and senior Kelsey Stark filled in and played a big role for us.”

The teams were split into two groups of four with the aforementioned squads going 5-1 over the host Rangers and River Valley.

Christina Hans is the new coach for Cassopolis and led the Rangers to 25-19 and 25-15 conquests over the Mustangs, before falling to New Buffalo (8-25, 15-25) and Climax-Scotts (24-25, 16-25) in the pool play.

In quarterfinal play, the Rangers took Bangor to the limit as they traded 26-24 victories before the visitors outscored Cassopolis by a 15-10 score in the deciding third set.

Bangor and Michigan Lutheran were 5-1 victors in their side of the pool with Eau Claire beating Benton Harbor twice.

The Titans were the top seed with a 25-18 victory over Bangor, who beat Michigan Lutheran 25-23. New Buffalo defeated the Vikings in the semifinals with 25-23 and 25-20 victories, while Michigan Lutheran outlasted Climax-Scotts by scores of 27-25 and 25-21 to reach the finals.

“We were quite happy to make it to the final as we have a strong returning group of girls with only three new players,” stated Michigan Lutheran coach Jennifer Reinhardt. “All the girls pitched in and did a great job with senior captain Jenna Green out because of a sprained ankle and will find out next week what happens with her.”

The only time the Titans would lead was the first point as New Buffalo completely dominated the first game and led 15-7 before Reinhardt called a time out to slow things down. The Bisons were recharged and scored the next eight points before winning by a 25-8 score.

“New Buffalo was the only team that hit over our blockers and had to do some adjusting as we played closer in the second game,” said Reinhardt. “They have a good program with a very solid team this year with some returning players that have had success.”

After splitting the first two points, New Buffalo opened up a 10-3 advantage in the second set and pretty much traded off points the rest of the way for a 25-20 victory to win the Cassopolis tournament for the second year in a row.

“This puts us on a road to a great start for this season by winning this tournament as the girls have the drive and determination to win and playing six or seven players the entire day is exceptional for them to accomplish,” Seifert said.

When Ward comes back New Buffalo will start three sophomores and two juniors.

“It is a nice blend for us with youth and experience to maintain roles,” concluded Seifert.