NEW BREMEN – Ansonia and Versailles faced some of the state’s best volleyball programs on Friday in a preseason tournament at New Bremen.
Along with Ansonia and Versailles, the 12-team tournament included squads from Anna, Celina, Delphos St. John’s, Lincolnview, Marion Local, Minster, New Bremen, St. Henry and St. Marys.
“It’s just unbelievable competition, state-level teams,” Ansonia volleyball coach Craig Riethman said. “We’re just glad we’re able to be a part of it.”
Four of the 11 schools in Friday’s tournament – Anna, Celina, New Bremen and Versailles – reached the sweet 16 of last year’s Ohio High School Athletic Association state tournaments. Minster and St. Henry made it to the district finals while Marion Local and St. Marys were knocked out in the district semifinals.
“I want the girls to see what some of the best teams in the state look like and learn … to be successful you’ve got to do what the successful teams do so they’re going to learn a lot from playing against them and watching them,” Riethman said.
Along with seeing some great competition, the tournament provided Ansonia and Versailles an opportunity to gauge how their teams measure up prior to the official start of practice on Tuesday.
“It’s good to gauge to see what we still need to work on, what kind of holes we have and just putting the last pieces together before we start the season,” Versailles volleyball coach Kenzie Bruggeman said.
Riethman also was glad to have the chance to discover more about his team’s strengths and weaknesses.
“If we can figure out two or three things coming out of today where we really need to improve and figure out a few of what our strengths are we can really focus on those things Tuesday through Friday next week at practice,” he said.
The tournament in New Bremen began with pool play with teams split into two six-team pools based on last year’s records. They then were seeded into brackets for a tournament to conclude the day.
“I just want to see them play competitive, honestly,” Bruggeman said. “It’s not too much of the nuts and bolts but just playing together as one and just going out there like I said and being competitive; that’s my main goal right now.”
Playing against so many top-level opponents forced Ansonia into some uncomfortable situations, Riethman said, which ultimately will be a positive for the Tigers this upcoming fall.
“It’s awesome for us. One thing that we’re working on here today is learning how to respond to different situations, and we’re going to see every situation you could imagine in the six or seven games that we play today,” he said. “It’s going to really put us in situations that are uncomfortable, and that’s what we need.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.