AF men’s volleyball team wins second armed forces championship in 3 years

  • Published
  • By Steve Warns
  • Air Force Civil Engineer Center Public Affairs
Camaraderie, hard work, readiness and resilience added up to the all-Air Force men’s volleyball team’s second armed forces championship in three years.

The armed forces championship was held in conjunction with the USA Volleyball Open National Championships May 24-29, 2017, in Minneapolis. Air Force beat Navy 25-19, 25-17 and Army 25-21, 25-15 to win the armed forces title and win its pool with a 5-0 record.

Overall, Air Force finished with a 6-2 record and ninth out of 58 teams.

“The team worked really hard and came together during training camp,” said Air Force coach Capt. Karl Grosselin, program manager for the space superiority systems directorate at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. “We had 10 first-timers on the team this year and two returning players, but this was one of the deepest teams I have seen in my five years of being a part of Air Force volleyball.”

The team took part in a three-week training camp at Hurlburt Field, Florida, which played a vital part in the team’s success, Grosselin said.

“It has been by far the best camp I have been a part of, and that was mostly due to the amazing staff of the 1st Special Operations Force Support Squadron,” he added. “We practiced twice a day and had four scrimmages to prepare.”

The Air Force entered the tournament with three specific goals, said outside hitter and Senior Airman Travis Greiner, a geospatial intelligence analyst with the 45th Intelligence Squadron at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

“The team motto for anyone is ‘win,’ and we wanted to beat Army and Navy, win our pool and win gold,” Greiner said. “We also wanted to promote a positive presence for the Air Force.”

Beating Army and Navy are memories that will remain with Greiner.

“We are all there representing our branch of service, and though we are brothers in arms, on the court we want nothing more than to beat each other,” Greiner said. “The Army game was probably the most intense that we played. Our intensity was unmatched, and our execution was just about flawless. We had mishaps, but we were able to push past that and bring home a win for the Air Force.

“Once the games were done, we went right back to where we were before – being able to talk and joke and learn from our fellow Soldiers and Sailors,” he added.

Greiner exemplified resiliency during training camp and the tournament, Grosselin said. The senior airman was cut during tryouts from two previous teams, but he never gave up and made his first team this year.

“Before the military, I was a coach, and I’ve had to cut (people) and have them try out again the following year,” Greiner said. “Most of the time, they came back better and fit into a role that helped them and us win. I tell my fellow Airmen all the time, ‘If you quit, you’re admitting that you can’t do it. Don’t stop pushing and believing that you can achieve what you set your mind to.’

“If something cuts you down, bounce back and overcome,” he added. “Prove that you belong, and you will make your mark.”

Airmen interested in competing for Air Force sports can visit MyAirForceLife and fill out an Air Force Form 303.