The 31st Engineer Battalion had several new players on the court as they began their 2020 volleyball season, but quickly proved why they are the defending champions of the nets, winning their debut match 2-1 over the 14th Military Police Brigade Oct. 30 on Davidson Fitness Center’s Court 4.
It was the first time the two teams had faced each other since last year’s Commander’s Cup Volleyball Tournament championship match, which the 31st Engr. Bn. also won.
“We pulled together as many alumni as we could, and we brought in some new folks,” 31st Engr. Bn. player/coach Katie Davel said when asked how the team prepared for the current season. She added that her players are “really excited about this season.”
“It’s pretty awesome that our battalion emphasizes the Commander’s Cup year after year, and we go out and do our best,” Davel said. “We’re definitely going to work to build our strengths and correct our weaknesses. We have a lot of people rostered, so we want to make sure to use them to the best of their abilities.”
The 31st Engr. Bn. jumped out to an early lead, largely on the strength of Titi Kaisi, who has three aces and three spikes. The Engineers never looked back, winning the first game 25-21.
The 14th MP Bde. returned the favor in the second game, building a solid lead on several hits by Cody Sullivan to earn a 25-16 win.
In the tiebreaker, the 31st Engineers relied on hits by Kaisi, Davel, James Rolling and Cornelius Muasa to win the final game 15-13.
Kaisi was the overall scoring leader with 12 points on five aces, five spikes and two hits.
Sullivan led the 14th MPs with eight points on six hits, a spike and an ace.
It was the second match of the night for the 14th MP Bde. players, who also won their season opener earlier Oct. 30 with a 25-17, 25-5 victory over the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence.
The 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment defeated MSCoE 2-0 in the late Conference B match played Oct. 30.
In Conference A matches played Oct. 29:
— The 169th Engineer Battalion defeated the 3rd Chemical Brigade 2-1.
— The Medical Department Activity picked up a forfeit win;
Nine teams are participating in volleyball this year. According to Tatiana Pickett with the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Sports Department, the season has gotten off to a smooth start.
“It went very well,” she said. “Especially the first night with the first game — they were amped up and ready to get it going.”
For the next five weeks, Conference A teams will play Tuesday nights at DFC, while Conference B teams will play Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Games are scheduled for 6, 7 and 8 p.m.
Spectators are welcome, Pickett said.
“We have bleachers set up where (visitors) can come out and watch, and we encourage them to come out,” she said. “Visitors need to make sure to sit on the bleachers. If they are in the wrong areas, we will direct them to the right areas. Also, visitors should be aware this is volleyball, and balls will be flying through the air at any given time. I almost got hit last night, so we just want everyone to be aware.”