15th OG stays undefeated with win over 15th MDG

Maj. Stu Renz, hitter for 15 OG, slams one of his many kills through the defense.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

If practice makes perfect, then the 15th Operations Group (15 OG) are proving the point after winning their sixth game in a row with a straight set, 25-10 and 25-23, win over the 15th Medical Group (15 MDG) on July 26 in an intramural Blue Division volleyball matchup at Hickam Fitness Center, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The win raised the 15 OG’s record to a perfect 6-0, while the 15 MDG dropped to 2-4.

Maj. Drew Powers, whose laser-like service led to 12 straight points in the first set, said that having teammates who love to play the game is the key to their success.

“We like to practice,” Powers said. “We get our practice in and a lot of guys just love the game, so that always helps to carry over.”

It also helps to have a solid frontline that can deliver the goods, when it comes to blocking and delivering heavy-handed spikes for kills.

Maj. Stu Renz, 1st Lt. Justin Stanley and Tech. Sgt. Lonnie Teriault were the main cogs in the team’s awesome play at the net.

“It’s encouraging,” said Powers about the frontcourt. “It does a lot for the offense of the team because you know you got those guys up there.”

In the first set, Renz started off hot and lowered the boom on three kills that staked the 15 OG a 5-2 advantage.

After the 15 OG increased their lead to 7-3, Powers, after a sideout, took service and proceeded to shoot the lights out with precision-overhand shots that put the 15 MDG on their heels.

In an amazing run, Powers picked up five aces, accompanied by two kills each by Renz and Teriault, in leading run of a dozen straight points and a 19-3 lead.

“To be honest, my serves weren’t the best in my previous games,” he said. “I actually found that I could take a little bit off and I could get a little bit more movement on the ball.”

Still, even with Powers easing up on his delivery, his serves maintained enough juice and accuracy to handcuff the 15 MDG.

“It’s important to have placement,” he said. “If you’re forcing them to reach for it, that makes it harder for them to return. It’s the goal and sometimes you get lucky.”

Another kill by Renz put the 15 OG at the 20-point mark, and then, after reaching point 24, the team put the 15 MDG away in the first set on a service error.

The momentum of their win in the first set carried over to the second set. The 15 MDG, led by three kills by Stanley, raced out to a quick 7-3 lead.

However, the 15 MDG finally stopped the bleeding. Capt. Adam Altman led a charge of four straight points to catch the 15 OG at 7-7.

The seesaw continued, as the 15 OG retook the lead and went up by a score of 19-10 with five straight points coming, while Maj. C J Fontillas toed the line for service.

Again, instead of folding, the 15 MDG took the ball back on a sideout and cut the deficit with three points that were sparked by two aces by Senior Airman Jonathan Henry.

Then with the 15 OG on the verge of victory with a 23-19 lead, the 15 MDG and Altman provided some drama by picking up three points in a row to narrow the lead down to one.

With the ball back in the 15 OG’s court, Powers showed his skill at the net by recording the final two kills to put the game away.

“I knew I had to make the plays,” Powers said. “I’m not going say it was on my shoulders, but we just have to have the trust in each other to make the plays and end the game.”

Following their sixth straight win, Powers said that to keep the momentum going, the best thing for the team to do is stay the course.

“We’re just going to try and not change anything,” he said. “What we have seems to be working, so just keep going.”

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Category: Sports