Nina Gestring cheers for her father May 1, 2012, during the Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Nina's father, Ken Gestring, is a member of the Air Force sitting volleyball team. The Air Force beat their opponent in consecutive matches. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)
by Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes
Defense Media Activity
5/2/2012 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AFNS) -- The Air Force sitting volleyball team punished the U.S. Special Operations Command team in two consecutive matches May 1 here during the 2012 Warrior Games.
The Air Force team struck first, with Ken Gestring as the server. Air Force pulled out to a 12 point lead, with spikes by Keith Sekora and Christopher Aguilera, before SOCOM snuck on the board with three points in a row.
At one point, Ryan McGuire and Stacy Pearsall struggled to save the ball but eventually it was turned over to SOCOM. But the SOCOM possession was short lived. The teams volleyed possession along with the ball, but SOCOM was only able to narrow the point gap to nine points.
With Gestring serving again, Air Force closed out the match 25 - 11.
"I think as a team we all came together and we all talked (on the court) and we did all the things we learned in practice," said Matt Sanders of the win. "In practice we did a lot of talking. That's the biggest thing in volleyball. But today we tried to work really hard on blocking, and that's what gave us the game."
The SOCOM team started match two with possession of the ball and scored the first point.The second match continued in the same fashion as the first, but SOCOM did manage to get within two points of the lead after an Air Force ball went out of bounds giving the point and possession to SOCOM. Once the Air Force regained possession of the ball, the Air Force lead continued to increase.
Finally, the Air Force was able to seal the deal after a SOCOM turnover at 24-17 gave them the chance to earn the match point. Air Force scored the final point and won two consecutive matches in the best-of-three series.
"I think one of the ladies in the crowd said it best - they make it look easy," said Nicki Marino, the Air Force sitting volleyball coach. "They just stayed relaxed and did well serving. I think they missed maybe two or three during the whole match."
The Air Force will play each service team, including the British Armed Forces, before entering the medal rounds May 2.
"They're just really are hungry," Marino said. "They're a really good mix of fun and seriousness and focus."