JB-2 AF saves best game of season for last

Airman 1st Class Vincent Aragona spikes the ball past Airman 1st Class Sarah Sanborn.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

It may be the final game of the season for Joint Base-2 Air Force (JB-2 AF), but the squad rallied from a tough year to finish strong and take the 15th Medical Group (15 MDG) in straight sets, 25-13 and 25-9, on Aug. 16 to cap off the intramural volleyball regular season in a Blue Division match at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center.

While the season has ended for both teams one week prior to the volleyball playoffs, JB-2 AF may have played their best game of the season in dominating a spirited but shorthanded 15 MDG, who played the entire match with only five players — one short of a full starting squad.

“We are just starting to jell now,” Chief Master Sgt. Carlos Rosa said. “We’re very relaxed now. Early on, we didn’t know how to play with each other. The big key is communication. If we played longer, I think would jump (in the standing) more and more.”

Solid teamwork helped JB-2 AF get out to fast starts in both sets against the 15 MDG.

In the first set, JB-2 AF got out to a double-digit lead at 17-7, while in the second set, the team got to the double-digit mark at 16-6.

Rosa stepped up right off the bat with a solid performance at service. He, helped by two kills from Airman 1st Class Ryley Reynolds, picked up two aces to lead the JB-2 AF on a 6-0 run and take an 8-1 advantage.

“I was looking for different spots on the court where there were big gaps,” Rosa said. “If they were turned in, I tried to put it over their other shoulder so they turned around. Whatever they were doing, I tried to go the opposite point.”

The early lead was a huge hurdle for the 15 MDG overcome, especially with JB-2 AF clicking on all cylinders.

Rosa put down a kill to give JB-2 AF a commanding 18-7 lead. Later, while at service, Rosa added an ace that made it 21-11.

After gaining momentum early in the set, Rosa said that the team kept on attacking the shorthanded Medical Group.

“That was a tremendous advantage,” he said. “Our first two games we lost because we only had five. If it wasn’t for that, we probably would have won our first couple of games and been more competitive.”

The JB-2 AF wasted no time in the second set. After a kill by Airman 1st Class Vincent Aragona, the team found itself ahead at 10-4.

Later, with JB-2 AF ahead by 13-6, the team went on a 5-0 run to take full charge of the set at 18-6.

Rosa added a kill for a 19-8 lead. When Aragona spiked his fifth kill of the game, the JB-2 AF were only three points away from the win at 22-9.

A kill by Airman 1st Class Agostino Cimino made it 24-9, and on the next play, a hitting error by the Medical Group ended the game.

Besides controlling the net and passing the ball with accuracy, the JB-2 AF also excelled from the backline, with the team getting the serve over the net on almost every play.

“That’s the biggest part of the game,” Rosa said. “You’ve got to get the ball over to their side. A lot of people, once they make a service error, it gets in their head. If they make a couple of them, they know they need to get it over and they won’t hit it as hard. It easy to return the ball. We put it on their side, we played defense and made them uncomfortable. We made them do a lot of the work and be ready for it.”

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Category: Sports