By Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Team Schriever emerged victorious during the 2014 Rocky Mountain Regional Volleyball Tournament May 17 at the base fitness center here.
Schriever defeated Fort Carson, 25-21, 22-25, 15-10, to clinch the championship. Other teams hailed from Peterson and Buckley Air Force Bases and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“Last year, we finished second in the tournament. Winning this year left us all extremely content,” said Eric Lewandowski, Schriever member. “It was a long day, but overall, we had a blast, played well and we’re proud to walk away as champions.”
Though Fort Carson lost, Coach Carlos Alicea said playing Schriever was still a great experience.
“We both battled to the death,” Alicea said. “The rallies were incredible; probably the best volleyball I have played since the Vale Father’s Day weekend [game] last year. We took the loss very well; we were just happy to even play. We were considered the underdogs and we came in second place.”
The day-long tournament was a round-robin format where teams played each other once, two sets per match, followed by a championship match between the two teams with the best win-loss record.
Coming into the championship, Schriever had a 6-2 win-loss record while Fort Carson had 7-1, after the round-robin. Meanwhile, Peterson clinched third with 4-4, Academy had 3-5 while Buckley lost all their matches.
Composed mostly of last year’s members, the Schriever team practiced a couple of times during the weeks leading up to the tournament, and reviewed basic offense and strategies.
“There were no official tryouts or anything; it was more of a word-of-mouth type thing,” Lewandowski said. “We saw people play during intramurals, and basically, just asked players if they wanted to play or knew anybody else who could compete at a high level.”
Meanwhile, Fort Carson only had one practice prior to the tournament.
“We have never played each other so it was challenging trying to see where I wanted to place everyone and see what their strengths were,” Alicea said.
This minimal preparation cost the team the championship.
“We won because we played as a team,” Lewandowski said. “We were all on the same page and knew one another’s roles. Our advantage is Tom Fow. He played phenomenal that day and we knew if we were ever starting to stray off course, we could set him and get a few points back pretty quick.”
Schriever also used the strengths of multiple players, substituting their middles for defensive specialists when they rotated to the back row.
“This gave us an advantage on defense as well as allowed time for offense recuperation,” said Lewandowski. “Our tactics were to utilize two setters allowing three hitters to always be front row. This provided better blocking as well as having multiple options for every play. We also utilized back-row attacks, which are harder to block. Thankfully, we had a couple hitters that were able to consistently hit from the back row.”
Even with the loss, Alicea reiterated that his team still played exceedingly well.
“I’m extremely proud of my team members and what they have accomplished,” he said. “We plan on having more than one practice together for next year, and no one will come even close to beating us.”
The following are the Schriever members:
Coach John Baldwin