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Intramural volleyball returns to Fort Hood

Email   Print   Share By Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Sports Editor
March 7, 2013 | Sports
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All eyes focus in on the ball as Team Shank’s Catherine Meyers keeps the play alive during Game 1 against Mixed Plate, the eventual winners, Monday night inside West For Hood Physical Fitness Center. Shank won the first game in straight sets, but failed to knock off Mixed Plate a second time, falling in straight sets. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Sports Editor
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Mixed Plate teammates Jason Togi and Jam Faagata attempt to block a shot during Game 1 of the intramural volleyball tournament finals Monday night at West Fort Hood Physical Fitness Center. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Sports Editor
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Richard Muaava, playing on Mixed Plate, opts to tip the ball over the net as Ernest Barcinas, playing on Shank, tries to defend during Game 1 of the intramural volleyball tournament finals Monday night at West Fort Hood Physical Fitness Center. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Sports Editor
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Team Shank celebrates a point during Game 1 of the intramural volleyball tournament finals Monday night. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Sports Editor
Team Mixed Plate survived the second of two games against Team Shank, winning 25-22 and 25-23, Monday night to take the trophy in Fort Hood’s first intramural volleyball league in about a decade.

Coming into the final day of play, Shank needed a win against Team Bohica to advance out of the loser’s bracket for a rematch against Mixed Plate – a team Shank lost to in three sets earlier in the tournament.

With Mixed Plate’s tournament record unblemished thus far, Shank’s path to the championship required taking down the opposition twice, per the rules of a double-elimination tournament.

Shank wasted no time ushering aside an undermanned Bohica, winning in straight sets, 25-13 and 25-20. It then carried over its momentum into Game 1 of the final showdown with Mixed Plate, where it recorded yet another straight-set victory, 25-21 and 25-15.

“We think that they were kind of cold (coming into the first game),” Shank team captain Ernest Barcinas said.

On the flip side, heading into Game 2, Barcinas said his team was a bit overconfident.

“We were too confident heading into the second game that we were going to go back and do the same thing as in Game 1,” he said.

In Game 2, Mixed Plate relaxed, bettered its passing and returned to form, one that helped them to a 9-1 regular season record.

“We decided to play better in the second game. We changed strategies: instead of playing badly, we decided to play well,” Mixed Plate team captain Eric Whitman said simply. “What we said to each other between games was that we were being too serious. We were just taking it too seriously, like it was life and death or something, and it’s a game that we enjoy, and we play better when we’re enjoying it.”

In addition to overconfidence, Barcinas said he began to notice a lack of discipline on his end.

“I think we were trying to kill the ball too much; instead, we’d hit the ball into the net,” he said about the team being overly aggressive at times.

“Shank is a great team, and whenever we’ve played them, it could have gone either way,” Whitman added.

As Whitman said, close outcomes are no surprise between these familiar opponents – ones so familiar that a husband and wife play on opposing teams – Barcinas on Shank and his wife Terry on Mixed Plate.

“We all started getting together after the league in Harker Heights two years ago,” Whitman explained, adding that the group has even taken part in softball leagues, staying friends and playing together all year.

“One member of our team used to be on Shank in the last league, in Harker Heights,” Whitman added. “And she came over to our team, but her husband stayed on Shank. So now they have a first-place and second-place trophy.

“Part of me wanted to lose so that I could give her a hard time – if the team that she left beat the team that she joined, then I would have blamed it all on her,” he joked.

All in all, captains of both teams expressed their appreciation of the tournament’s staff and the improved volleyball equipment that makes the West Fort Hood gym a feasible place to play, with volleyball gym time a premium in the area.

“West Fort Hood was the only place we could play, and previously, they didn’t have regulation-height nets and poles,” Whitman said. “The equipment was terrible, so nobody played there.

“All of us are pretty happy about the facilities there now, so we’re going to keep playing there.”

“Since I got here, being raised on the islands, there’s been no place to play,” Ernest added. “It’s nice having a place to play now.”
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