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Air Force Men, Army Women Repeat as Volleyball Champions

By John W. Peeler
National Guard Bureau

FORT BENNING, Ga., May 14, 1997 – Air Force men and Army women repeated their 1996 performances by capturing the 1997 Armed Forces Volleyball Championships May 7-10 here.

Air Force men took five games to slip past Navy on the first day, but no team would come close to upsetting the defending champs until the last day of the tournament. By the time Army defeated Air Force 15-12, 13-15, 16-14, 15-5, Air Force had clinched the title.

"It's a good feeling to win again," Air Force coach Dale Grupe said. "We basically came back this year with the same men's team we had last year."

Army men finished second, posting a 4-2 record for the second consecutive year. Navy finished third at 2-4, and Marine Corps finished at 1-5.

After the tournament, officials named men's all-Armed Forces team with Air Force men placing five players on the squad. Earning slots were Capt. John Kara (Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho), 1st Lt. Paul Larger (Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.), 2nd Lt. John Napier (Los Angeles Air Force Base), Staff Sgt. Kelly Bronson (Kadena Air Base, Japan) and Senior Airman Marc Anderson (Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.). Grupe (Lexington, Ky.) and Master Sgt. Kliengsak Nimpchaimanatham (Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.) earned coaching spots.

Soldiers earning all-tournament berths were Sgt. Lee Bettie (Fort Buckman, Okinawa, Japan), Spc. Tausala Faamausili (Fort Lewis, Wash.) and Pfc. Richard Hudson (Fort Carson, Colo.). Taking Navy positions were Petty Officer 1st Class John Blondin (USS Milius), Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Ersberger (USS George Washington) and Seaman Jason Alexandridis (San Diego Naval Base). Also named to the team as trainer was Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven George (Naval Hospital, Millington, Tenn.).

In the women's competition, Army started with a Day 1 victory over Marine Corps 15-7, 15-3, 15-5 before being seriously challenged the last day of the tournament by Air Force. Army's 6- 15, 15-9, 5-15, 15-8, 15-4 victory forced a best-two-out-of-three game tie-breaker between Air Force and Navy to determine second place, which Air Force won in two straight games 15-13 and 15-8.

Air Force finished in second place at 4-3. Navy, finished third at 3-4, while Marine Corps women ended at 0-6.

The Army team placed five players on the women's All-Armed Forces squad. Soldiers earning spots were 2nd Lt. Sunny Barse (Fort Shafter, Hawaii), 2nd Lt. DeAnn Machlan (Fort Campbell, Ky.), Sgt. Kristie Dean (Kaiserslautern, Germany), Spc. Trina Skinner (Fort Belvoir, Va.) and Spc. Ramona Sualua (Fort Riley, Kan.).

Air Force players making the team were 1st Lt. Christine Eiler (Los Angeles Air Force Base), 1st Lt. Lisa Harrigan (Brooks Air Force Base, Texas) and 2nd Lt. Billeye Juarez (Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.).

Navy players earning positions were Lt. j.g. Lauren Nilsen (Rota, Spain), Petty Officer 2nd Class Demaris Brown (Camp Pendleton, Calif.) and Seaman Stephanie Stuck (San Diego). Marine Corps players making the squad were Sgt. Danielle Dillard (Westover, Calif.) and Sgt. Charissa Howard (Anacostia Naval Station, Washington, D.C.).

Army coach Toafala Lafeta (Phoenix) and Chief Warrant Officer Leroy Latshaw (Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii) were selected to coach the All-Armed Forces women's team.

The All-Armed Forces team is currently at Fort Benning practicing for the Volleyball Nationals at Kansas City May 24-27.

Women's Standings

              W    L    PCT.    GB

Army          6    0   1.000    --

*Air Force    3    3    .500     3

Navy          3    3    .500     3

Marine Corps  0    6    .000     6

* Won playoff tiebreaker for second place

Men's Standings

              W    L    PCT.    GB

Air Force     5    1    .833    --

Army          4    2    .667     1

Navy          2    4    .333     3

Marine Corps  1    5    .167     4

Women's Tournament Scores

Day 1

Army def. Marine Corps 15-7, 15-3, 15-5

Air Force def. Navy 15-11, 15-5, 15-4

Day 2

Air Force def. Marine Corps 15-8, 15-10, 15-6

Army def. Navy 15-6, 11-15, 15-5, 15-5

Navy def. Marine Corps 15-12, 15-2, 15-6

Army def. Air Force 15-5, 10-15, 15-6, 15-8

Day 3

Navy def. Air Force 15-11, 4-15, 17-15, 16-14

Army def. Marine Corps 15-5, 15-7, 14-16, 15-7

Air Force def. Marine Corps 15-6, 15-11, 15-7

Army def. Navy 15-2, 15-2, 15-6

Day 4

Navy def. Marine Corps 15-10, 15-4, 15-5

Army def. Air Force 6-15, 15-9, 5-15, 15-8, 15-4

*Air Force def. Navy 15-13, 15-8

*Tiebreaker game for second place.

Men's Tournament Scores

Day 1

Air Force def. Navy 15-9, 12-15, 11-15, 15-13, 15-13

Army def. Marine Corps 15-9, 15-12, 15-10

Day 2

Air Force def. Marine Corps 15-1, 17-15, 15-9

Navy def. Army 15-13, 15-9, 15-1

Marine Corps def. Navy 16-14, 6-15, 12-15, 15-8, 15-10

Air Force def. Army 15-9, 11-15, 15-12, 15-12

Day 3

Air Force def. Navy 15-7, 16-14, 12-15, 15-7

Army def. Marine Corps 16-14, 15-6, 7-15, 6-15, 15-8

Air Force def. Marine Corps 15-6, 15-12, 15-8

Army def. Navy 10-15, 15-10, 15-7, 15-7

Day 4

Navy def. Marine Corps 15-11, 15-4, 15-4

Army def. Air Force 15-12, 13-15, 16-14, 15-6

Contact Author


Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Spc. Jason Peeler of Fort Irwin, Calif., sets up teammate Spc. Richard Hudson (Fort Carson) for a spike against the Marine Corps in first round action at the armed forces volleyball championships. Army won the match and finished second overall during the four-day tournament at Fort Benning, Ga. John W. Peeler  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageNavy Ensign Marsha Heineman (Portsmouth Naval Medical Center, Va.) gets a shot through the outstretched hands of Air Force defenders during their first round match at the armed forces volleyball tournament. Both teams tied for second place, but Air Force won a 15-13, 15-8 playoff for the silver medal. John W. Peeler  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageNavy Petty Officer 1st Class John Blondin (USS Milius) sets up teammate Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Emsburger (USS George Washington) during their first round match against Air Force. Air Force won the match and went on to retain its armed forces volleyball title. John W. Peeler  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageNavy Petty Officer 3rd Class Darwin Griffith (Camp Lester, Okinawa, Japan) powers a shot past Army defenders during their first round game at the 1997 armed forces volleyball tournament at Fort Benning, Ga. John W. Peeler  
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