Air Force volleyball team remains undefeated

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Vanessa Young
  • Defense Media Activity-San Antonio
The Air Force sitting volleyball team took down two Army teams May 11 and May 12 to finish undefeated in pool play and advance to the semifinals at the Warrior Games here.

With only a week and a day of formal practice, Nicki Marino, the volleyball head coach, said her team stuck to the basics, which has helped them win.

"They are so excited to be out here and they are really doing a great job of just being a team," she said. "They did a great job of just slowing things down and getting our passes up and really digging in and getting a lot of balls up. We are just frustrating other teams; it's fun."

In the first round of pool play May 11, the Air Force team defeated the Army 1 team in two games; 27-25, 25-16.

The Air Force team won their second game by forfeit. Their third match versus the Army 4 team was decided in three games.

The first game of the match went to the Army team 26-24.

"We rallied together to rebound from the first game," said Matt Sanders, the team captain who also made the last kill of the match. "When someone made a mistake, we said 'It's ok, we'll get them on the next play,' and we got them on the next play."

The Air Force team answered back in the second game, 25-17, forcing the teams to play a final game for the match. The Air Force scored early in the third match and with one point to win, a time out was called.

"We don't need heroes, we just need basics," Coach Marino said her to her team during the last match. "They really wanted it so there wasn't much we as coaches needed to do at that point."

The Air Force team won the last game, 15-7.

One Air Force team member attributes their success to their "iron curtain" defense.

"That's our front line," said retired Staff Sgt. Richard Tackett. "When they serve the volleyball over, we put it back down and force them to play. I think that when we can serve the ball over and force them to play us that we are stronger and we put our hands up to play really good defense. We put the pressure on them and it's smooth sailing from there.

"We're going to proceed till we win gold, we're not going to stop," he said.