NAVSUP fights off challenge to beat 15th MDG

Capt. Adam Altman goes up to try and block a kill attempt by Bruce Ayres.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) fought off a tough challenge by the 15th Medical Group (15 MDG) to win in three sets, 21-25, 25-17 and 15-8 on Aug. 9 in a Blue Division intramural volleyball match at Hickam Fitness Center, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Although NAVSUP held the superior record going into the game, the team had to win the last two sets to come out on top.

In overcoming the 15 MDG, NAVSUP improved their record to 6-2, while the Medical Group lost for the sixth time in eight matches.

“Every team we played has been really strong, no matter what their record is,” said NAVSUP team captain Kevin Young, a Department of Defense civilian. “You can’t really tell by their record. I’ve seen them (15 MDG) play on two occasions and they’re pretty darn good. We played them last year, so we know what they can do.”

In the first set, NAVSUP, led by the frontline hitting of DoD civilians Bruce Ayres and Devin Leung, got to double digits first and took a four-point lead at 10-6.

From that point on, the momentum changed as the 15 MDG, assisted by the excellent passing of setter Senior Airman Amber Felton, caught NAVSUP at 11-11 on an ace by Senior Airman Jonathan Henry.

On the next serve, Henry came up with a kill to give the 15 MDG their first lead of the set at 12-11.

Later, a kill by Felton gave the 15 MDG their biggest lead of the set at 18-13.

NAVSUP closed the gap at 22-21, but a couple of hitting errors secured the win for 15 MDG.

In the second set, 15 MDG used the momentum gained from the first set to pick up a quick 3-0 advantage.

However, behind the service of Staff Sgt. Richard Colmus, NAVSUP went on a mini-run of four straight points to take a 7-4 lead.

Back came the Medical Group, as the team tied NAVSUP at 8-8 and 9-9, but then it was NAVSUPs turn.

With Young serving and recording his first ace, NAVSUP scored the next three points to take a 12-9 advantage.

Colmus followed service later in the set and helped NAVSUP pull slightly away at 19-14.

And when DoD civilian Jimmy Toloumu spiked a shot for a kill, NAVSUP went on a final four-point run to take the second set and force a winner-take-all final.

“It was coverage defense,” Young said about the adjustment needed to win set two. “Being in the area where we know the ball would go was a big thing.”

In the final set, Ayers stepped up and came out strong, as he recorded three kills and a block to help NAVSUP take a 10-3 lead.

Armed with an early seven-point advantage, the team’s frontline picked up two more kills to help finish off the 15 MDG.

“It was extremely important,” Young said about the team’s frontline play. “In this league, everybody has a talented offense, so we try to match whoever we can to match the opponent.”

While NAVSUP is one of the top teams in the division, Young said that the team must keep improving as the season goes along – especially when every week presents a challenge.

“We must keep doing what we’re doing and work on what needs to be worked on,” he said. “Next week, we have a double header. We’ve never had one. That’s going to be a real challenge. That’s why we’ve really got to step it up.”

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Category: Sports