624th RSG volleyball team outlasts JPAC in three sets

  • Published
  • By Randy Dela Cruz
  • Ho'okele: Pearl Harbor-Hickam News
Following an early timeout in the first set, the 624th Region Support Group here, rallied together to overcome and outlast Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) here, in three sets, 22-25, 25-15 and 15-12, in a season-opening Blue Division intramural volleyball matchup July 17, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center.  


Down by a score of 9-3 in the first set, the 624th RSG called a timeout and regrouped to turn the game around before going on to capture their first win of the season.


Although the 624th RSG ended up losing the first set in a nail-biter, the team easily put JPAC away in the second set and then wrapped things up with a strong third set.


"Basically, we just started to get the jitters out," said 624th RSG outside hitter Senior Airman Warren Duke. "It was our first game, so everyone was nervous. Once we got through the nerves, we played better and relaxed out there."


The game was a complete turnaround for the 624th RSG after the team struggled against a tough frontline by JPAC.


Capt. Jason Kappes, hitter for JPAC, led the attack by coming up with three kills and a block in leading the team to a 7-3 advantage.


A long hit and a netball raised the JPAC lead to 9-3, which forced 624th RSG to take a timeout and talk things over.


The break worked as the 624th RSG began to piece things together and take the lead, 16-15, after two service aces by Senior Airman Situe Lumas and a long hit.


JPAC, however, outscored the 624th RSG, 7-1, to take a 23-17 lead before holding on to win the first set.


Even though the 624th RSG failed to keep the rally going in the first set, the team built enough momentum to take control of the game.


Tied at 6-6, the 624th RSG scored the next five points to take an 11-6 lead and then later used an 7-0 run to take a commanding 20-8 lead before winning set two.


While Duke was quiet in the first set, the 624th RSG hitter started to smack the ball down in the second.


Duke led the charge in the second set by slamming down three kills to go along with one block and a service ace.


"It was just more of we came together as a team," Duke said. "We started talking more and finally got used to everybody. A couple of starting people out there weren't here last year, so as soon as we got used to everybody, we kind of meshed a little bit."


Unlike the second set, the third set was tight all the way until the end.


After Master Sgt. Ronald Wabinga got the 624th RSG off to a good start with four service aces, another service ace by Tech. Sgt. Dennis Dedicatoria put the team up by two at 9-7.


However, JPAC scored the next two points to lock things up at 9-9.


Duke again led the efforts of the 624th RSG, as he broke the stalemate with a kill and later added another kill to give his team a 13-10 lead.


Although JPAC pulled to within a point at 13-12, back-to-back miss hits by JPAC hitters sealed the victory for the 624th RSG.


"The problem was that we struggled with our passing," Kappes said in explaining his team's loss. "Our passing was nails in the very beginning and we were getting good hits and sets off of it, but then they (624th RSG) started putting pressure on our defense and our passes just fell apart."


Kappes said that the team was missing a few key starters which factored into JPAC's defeat.


"Half our team is deployed," he said. "I'm pretty encouraged with how well we came together, but you could tell our practice time was missing. We'll work on it and get better."


Duke said he is also encouraged by the way the 624th RSG hung on to get the win. As the team gets more time on the court, Duke believes that the team will also get better.


"What we take from this game is experience," he said. "You know, a lot of our games are not going to go three games, so every time we can get three games, that's a good situation for us especially for when we get into the playoffs."