Marines Earn Gold in Sitting Volleyball
By Marine Corps Cpl. Scott Schmidt
Defense Media Activity – Marine Corps
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May. 14, 2010 A rivalry that had been brewing since the start of the inaugural Warrior Games was decided here yesterday when the Marine Corps team topped the Army in sitting volleyball competition.
Marine Corps Pfc. Jesse Schag spikes against the Army during the championship match of the inaugural Warrior Games sitting volleyball competition in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 13, 2010. The Marines won the gold medal, defeating the Army 15-9 in the championship-clinching game. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Scott Schmidt
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The Marines secured the gold medal in a best-of-three championship match, with the Army team emerging as silver medalists.
“These Marines have been my most coachable athletes,” said Brent Petersen, one of the team’s coaches. “Not only have they fought for life, but they have fought to overcome the adversities that may have beaten lesser men.”
Army Sgt. Juan Alcivar, who competed against the Marines in the final game, gave credit to the victors.
“I told them right off the bat, ‘We’ll see you in the finals,’” he said. “Well, we got there, but obviously we didn’t win the gold. I think the right team won. They came here knowing what they were doing, and it showed.”
The Marine and Army teams first met during the second preliminary match. The Marines won that first matchup, and the rivalry fueled the largest audience turnout of the games.
“The crowd really set the pace for the game,” said retired Sgt. Brad Walker of the Marine Corps team. “The atmosphere was so charged-full of energy, and we could just feed off of it during the game.”
As the two teams battled at the net, every point sparked a crowd eruption, which seemed to enhance the players’ competitive spirit. Marines dove, soldiers spiked, and both teams gave it their all, but in the end it was Gunnery Sgt. Marcus Wilson who scored the game-winning point to secure the 15-9 victory in the championship match’s decisive game.
The ball had barely bounced twice before a mass of red poured from the bleachers and descended upon the champions. The Marines did not soon forget their competitors, however.
“I really have to give it up for the soldiers,” Petersen said. “The Army team has improved so much since our first match. This game was not an easy win for us.”
The Marines arrived here two weeks early to acclimatize themselves to the altitude, and Petersen said it seemed to pay off.
“I promised these guys that we’d train together, we’d win together, and if it so worked out [that way], we would lose together,” he said.
The Air Force took the sitting volleyball bronze medal, beating out another Army team.