766 SCONS take two from shorthanded Greasy Unicorns

Staff Sgt. Joshua Wyant goes above the net to spike a kill attempt.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

The 766th Specialized Contracting Squadron (766 SCONS) fought off a spirited effort from the 690th Cyberspace Operations Squadron (690 COS) Greasy Unicorns to take a straight-set, 25-24 and 25-21, win on Aug. 10 in a Gold Division intramural volleyball match at Hickam Fitness Center, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The Greasy Unicorns played the entire match with only five players — one short of a full squad — and did their best to keep both sets close.

Unfortunately, the Greasy Unicorns matched up against a 766 SCONS team that was playing at their highest level after struggling in the early part of the season.

With the win, the 766 SCONS kept their playoff hopes alive by evening out their record at 3-3, while the Greasy Unicorns fell one game under .500 at 3-4.

“I think we’re always continuing to improve,” said 766 SCONS team captain Lt. Jennifer Beierle. “I don’t think we’re at our peak yet. I think we’ll get at our peak once we get into competitive play. We just need to make sure our fundamentals are there, and really, I think it’s about teamwork and that mindset. That’s what we’re trying to harvest right now.”

The match was extremely competitive from the first serve to the last.

Early on in the first set, both teams fought to gain control as the set was tied four times, before the Greasy Unicorns started to pull away.

Down by only three points at 18-15, Beierle hit the ball into the net for a service error that put the Greasy Unicorns up by four at 19-15.

The Unicorns picked up three more points to take their biggest lead of the set at 22-15, but a kill for a side-out by Department of Defense civilian Patrick Heppard stopped the run.

Then, with the Greasy Unicorns on the verge of putting the game away at 23-18, Heppard got the ball at service and led a charge of four straight points to pull the 766 SCONS to within a point at 23-22.

The 766 SCONS finally took the lead at 24-23, but a hitting error tied the score and placed the Greasy Unicorns in service needing one point to win.

Staff Sgt. David Floyd served up a hard hit over the net, but Staff Sgt. Joshua Wyant was there to spike a kill for the final point and push the 766 SCONS to the first-set victory.

During the hard-fought set, Airman 1st Class Patrick Latner almost single handedly kept the Greasy Unicorns in contention to win, but adjustments by the 766 SCONS neutralized Latner.

“We had some good blockers today,” Beierle said. “They were showing some defense and maybe it affected the way he (Latner) was hitting. That’s the reason why we were able to pick up some of his hits.”

The second set was almost a mirror image of the first – especially at the start, with the set being tied two times.

An ace by Beierle broke the second tie to give the 766 SCONS a 9-8 advantage and sway momentum to their favor.

The 766 SCONS went on to take a 19-12 lead, but after a side-out, back came the Greasy Unicorns.

Behind the service of Floyd, the Greasy Unicorns rallied for six unanswered points to tie the set at 19-19.

A side-out put the 766 SCONS up by a point at 21-20, setting the stage for Beierle, who took over at service. Behind her hard-overhand serves, she helped lead her team to a commanding advantage at 24-20.

“Every time I go up to serve, I try to do the best I can and fortunately it was working out,” Beierle said. “For me, it’s kind of a 50 percent chance I’m going to make it or not, but it worked out for me.”

With the team working its way into contention for a playoff spot, Beierle said that she might have to rethink the way that the team approaches each game.

While the focus was on getting as much playing time for everybody, Beierle said that she might have to juggle the lineup a bit more as the playoffs approach.

“If we get to the playoffs, we will looking to playing players a little more strategically,” she said. “But for right now it’s all about fun, teamwork and we’ll try to get a little bit more competitive as the season goes.”

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Category: Sports