Marion Local wins state’s toughest sectional, outlasts New Bremen in five

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Marion Local outlasted New Bremen in five sets on Tuesday to win the sectional title.

Marion Local volleyball coach Amy Steininger didn’t use the typical senior heavy recipe Tuesday night, but the finished product was another trip to D-IV District Finals. The Flyers downed New Bremen 26-24, 26-28, 25-5, 23-25 and 15-11, behind the play of sophomore Alyssa Winner and freshman Margaret Wuebker. Winner tallied a stunning 32 kills, while Wuebker came up with a number critical blocks.


Marion Local volleyball coach Amy Steininger didn’t use the typical senior heavy recipe Tuesday night, but the finished product was another trip to D-IV District Finals.

The Flyers downed New Bremen 26-24, 26-28, 25-5, 23-25 and 15-11, behind the play of sophomore Alyssa Winner and freshman Margaret Wuebker. Winner tallied a stunning 32 kills, while Wuebker came up with a number critical blocks.

Two weeks prior in the regular season, New Bremen beat the Flyers in another five-set marathon.

“Wuebker had some amazing blocks that went straight down and Alyssa was amazing. She is use to going against the double block everyday in practice and I just tell her she needs to find a way to get a kill,” said Steininger.

On the other side of the net, MAC player of the year Jackie Dabbelt found the going very difficult. The Flyers were double blocking the middle hitter at every turn and she never found a rhythm.

Even when the Cardinals did get the kill attempt down it seemed as if Marion dug it. Senior Flyer libero Jessica Schwieterman spent the entire night flying around the court, digging volleyballs.

“They just seemed to get to everything and when the kids hit it where you tell them there isn’t much you can do,” said New Bremen coach Lisa Thobe.

The writing on the wall was obvious in the first game; this was going to be a long, hard match.

In the first game, neither team could get anything more than a point or two as they went back and forth. Marion finally made a very minor run going up 15-13 on Winner’s serve. But even that was answered when Bremen tied the match at 17-17. Marion made another move when Leah Rosenbeck served the Flyers to a 21-18. But again New Bremen pushed back as Dabbelt made it a one point game at 24-25.

The Flyers finally shoved off and took the first game 26-24, taking a 1-0 match lead.

Not surprisingly the second game was another extended one, but this time it had a much different look. Setting a new tone for the match Marion wasted little time jumping out ahead of the Cardinals.

Rosenback served Marion to a 9-3 advantage and just like the Flyers were in charge; until New Bremen’s Taylor Jones took over.

Down 10-4, the senior outside hitter tossed the Cardinals on her back and completed a stunning comeback. Connecting for six kills, Jones brought New Bremen back from the brink of a 16-9 deficit to tying the match at 1-1 with a 28-26 win. The other key component was the serving of Becca Dwenger, who flipped a 16-9 deficit to an 18-17 lead. The game shifted the tide towards New Bremen, but it was very short lived.

Clearly putting the hiccup behind them, Marion returned to the court for the third game and promptly buried the Cardinals. After taking a 12-3 lead, Winner took the serve and just kept going and going and going. She didn’t stop until the Flyers hit 24 on the scoreboard. Although her game point serve went into the net, the damage was done and Marion won the game 25-5.

Bremen was now on the verge of elimination and facing the end of their season. Not surprisingly they avoided that outcome in the fourth game. Again using Jones the Cardinals were able to avoid any large early deficits and held off the Flyers 25-23, setting up a fifth game.

Needing only 15 to win, Marion was hoping for another quick start, while New Bremen was looking to hold back the Flyers for the first few rotations.

That didn’t happen. Doing as they had in game two and three the Flyers built an early advantage going up 7-3. From there Marion traded points with the Cardinals using mostly Winner, who recorded five kills in the decisive fifth game. The last of those five put Marion over the top with a 15-11 and back in the District Finals.

“We lost the first three matches that went five games (this year), but this team has really grown up,” said Steininger. “But after playing a full season of varsity volleyball I don’t really consider them young anymore.”

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