After 11th Engineer Battalion Team 1 captain Siatuvai Ioane ripped off six straight points from serves against 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, he said he knew his team was quickly becoming cohesive.
“Halfway through the second set, everything was clicking,” Ioane said.
The Engineers defeated 1/19 Wednesday 21-16, 21-14 in the opening round of the Commanders Cup preseason volleyball tournament at Smith Fitness Center.
Both sets were tight early on, but both times the Engineers came together at the right time, outscoring 1/19 8-3 to close the first set and 10-3 in the second set to seal the match.
The Engineers trailed 8-6 early in the second set but rallied and went on to rout 1/19 after Ioane’s service streak.
Ioane said it took some time for his team to form chemistry and get used to playing volleyball again, after not practicing before the tournament began.
“We’re just trying to familiarize all over again,” he said. “We tried to get a good lead and let everybody rotate in.”
After three or four games, he said he expects his team’s performance and chemistry to be seamless.
Though they had the lead for a brief time, 1/19 began to have trouble getting the ball over the net with its serves, which added to the momentum of the Engineers.
The Engineers also appeared to have a height advantage at the front row as they easily exploited gaps in the 1/19 defense on kills and blocks.
Ioane said the Engineers still have work to do on getting their defense up to par.
“There was a lot of standing around in the back, waiting for the ball to come to them, but you’ve got to go to the ball,” he said.
Ioane also said the Engineers have added new players and inexperience contributed to some of the confusion.
“There’s a couple of people on our team who have never played volleyball before,” he said. “I think they were trying to go after them. Once we figured that out, we blocked out and let the good players cover down for them.”
The preseason tournament will continue tonight at Smith Fitness Center starting at 6 p.m.