Intramural volleyball tournament brings out mix of talent, interests

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Volleyball teams from Army units around Fort Knox took to the courts at Natcher Physical Fitness Center last week to decide who will earn top honors in a single-elimination preseason tournament.

Five teams are competing in the tournament: MWR Sideliners, HRC Rebels, the Court Jesters, 1st TSC and 83rd. A sixth team, HHC 19th Engineers, did not make it to the tournament but will be involved in regular season action starting Wednesday.

By Thursday, the fate of two teams had been decided. Three others will have to wait until they come back from spring break.

The 83rd U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Center Thunderbolts was one of those eliminated, but because of an odd number of teams in the tournament, they were given another chance to play — against the Court Jesters.

“Our team is a mix of talent because I like to invite anybody from our organization who wants to play and loves the game,” said Julie Latham, coach of the Court Jesters. “I like to give them the chance to play and get out and do something.”

The Court Jesters come from the Systems Management Branch at U.S. Army Human Resources Command. Some of the team members have played together before, others were new to the team. They represent different age groups, skill levels and interests.

“We have a whole mix of talent on the team,” she said. “We’re like a salad bowl of talent.”

They all have one thing in common, however.

“Instead of a rigid type of team, we’re out here for the love of the game,” said Latham.

Members of the Thunderbolts formed their team two days prior to the match. Their first time playing together was at their first match the night before.

“We had 14 individuals who said they wanted to be part of the team but we’re instructors. We’re an instructor organization, so it’s hard to get everybody together,” said Lacey Hancock.

Hancock formed the Thunderbolts but an injury forced her to sit out the tournament. Troy Bowers took her place as the coach, for now.

While 83rd ARRTC came into the tournament hoping to win games, the co-coaches said they have another motive.

Honestly, we’re just trying to have fun. This is a team building thing and a morale booster for us,” said Hancock. “We didn’t go into it trying to win any championships.”

Bowers smiled.

“I’m more the competitive one between us,” he said.

“Yeah, he’s not real happy about our two-night losing streak,” she said.

“It’s all been a learning experience for us,” he said. “We’re getting better as we play. We actually won a game tonight.”

The Court Jesters won the match 3 games to 1 and advance to
the next round.

The HRC Rebels will face off in the Wednesday championship against the winner of Tuesday’s matchup between the MWR Sideliners and Court Jesters. n