NHCH comes back to win in three sets

Master Sgt. Michael Wiest of the 324 IS tries to block a kill by Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Adam Larson of NHCH.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

In a battle of two evenly matched volleyball teams, Naval Health Clinic Hawaii (NHCH) took two out of three sets, 25-19, 19-25 and 16-14, to edge past the 324th Intelligence Squadron (324 IS) on July 25 in a Blue Division intramural volleyball matchup at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center.

The win was the fourth of the season for NHCH against two defeats, while the 324 IS fell to 1-1 with its first loss of the season.

“It was teamwork,” Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Adam Larson said. “We’ve been working a lot on playing better as a team. We have a lot of good individual players, but when we first started, it was hard to get us to work together as a team, and that’s what we’re focused now on.”

Up by only two points in the first set, Larson kick-started NHCH’s attack, when he took over service and helped rally the team to five straight points and take a 9-2 lead.

“It sounds mean, but usually you aim for someone you see as a weaker player, or a gap,” Larson explained about how he was able to control the set from service.

The lead grew to as much as eight points, when a kill by Larson made it 20-12, before the set was finally put to rest on a smashing kill by Hospitalman Ronnie Dela Cruz.

While NHCH seemed to have its way with the 324 IS in the first set, things changed immediately in the second set.

The 324 IS came out on fire and after leading by a score of 8-5, Master Sgt. Erik Farley led a seven-point rally from service, which included a solid kill by Master Sgt. Michael Wiest.

Later, an ace by Larson helped NHCH pick up three straight points to tie the game up at 18-18.

However, after a side-out, the 324 IS got three straight aces from Staff Sgt. Devin Mascrro for a 22-18 lead and never looked back.”

“Usually for us, it was over-confidence,” said Larson about the team dropping the second set after looking so good in the first. “You get that high over a win and then you get overconfident.”

In the third and final set, it appeared as though the 324 IS had all the momentum it needed and used it to take a 12-9 lead – needing only three more points for the win.

Instead, a kill by Larson for a side-out point led to back-to-back aces by Hospital Corps-man 1st Class Chris Zunker that tied the score at 12-12.

A kill by Tech. Sgt. Edmond Gray gave the lead back to the 324 IS, but after a side-out tied the score at 13-13, Larson was back at service and delivered an ace to put NHCH back out on top at 14-13.

A clutch kill by Farley retied the game at 14-14, but after another side-out, Hospital Corps-man 2nd Class Alayon Augusta put the game away for good with a service ace.

Larson, who along with Dela Cruz and Zunker gave NHCH the firepower it needed to keep up and then surpass the 324 IS, said that while, overall, it was a very good win, the game wasn’t the team’s best to date.

With the playoffs just around the corner, Larson said that in order to get to where the team needs to be, it must work on its basics.

“Basically, a lot of it is all fundamental stuff,” he said. “We like to point out our weaknesses and try to work on it throughout the week.”

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Category: Sports