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OKISLAM spikes serious competition

Date Posted: 2004-06-10

ISHIKAWA, Okinawa, Japan — In spite of the heat and humidity in the Ishikawa City Gymnasium, the OKISLAM volleyball club men’s and women’s teams battled tough competition during the Koza Volleyball Tournament held Sunday.

The OKISLAM Volleyball Club on Kadena uses the common bond of sports for international relations. It includes Americans and Okinawans from all walks of life: dependents, active duty service members and school-aged children.

OKISLAM’s male team matched up against five local teams, while the women’s team competed against three in the annual event.

Both teams had 30 days prior to the tournament to adjust from their normal nine-man format to a six-man line-up.

The practices paid off and the OKISLAM teams proved to be competitive opponents for their Okinawan counterparts.

The OKISLAM women’s team played a close opening match but came up just short of a victory against Chiyoda Bridal Center 21-25. Although they lost the first match, they quickly dug in, made adjustments and pulled through to win the second match 25-16.

During the second round, the Attackers were no match for the OKISLAM women’s team, who won both matches 25-20 and 25-23. They finished 2-0, taking the lead in overall points, 96-83, to win in the first-round bracket.

In the final pool, the OKISLAM women’s team took on the University of Ryukyu “A” and split the set, losing the first one 15-25, then coming back to win the final set 25-22. Although they lost on total points 40-47, they still finished second overall.

OKISLAM women’s player Cristina Warnest admitted it was disheartening when their team lost, but she still enjoyed the tournament.

“It is a lot of fun getting out there and playing with the Okinawan people,” Warnest said. “It has been great watching the interaction between the different cultures.”

OKISLAM men and women team coordinator Art Arao said the women did a tremendous job because they kept up with their competition.

“They demand a great deal of themselves,” Arao said. “But, at the same time, they are having fun.”
The OKISLAM men’s team discovered luck was not riding on their side throughout most of the matches despite their first victory. The team finished 6th based on their total number of points.

According to OKISLAM men’s team captain Will Price, the practices for this tournament were complex because there were new faces on the team, on top of making adjustments to a different style of play than they are used to.

The OKISLAM men faced a tough match-up as they finished 1-1 in the first pool bracket against the University of Ryukyu “B” team, winning the first game 25-21, then getting edged out on the second match, 22-25. They took the win with points totaling 50 to 44.

The second match against the Mantans was also competitive. Although losing 20-25 on the first match, OKISLAM made a come back winning 25-21 on the second match-up.

The OKISLAM men’s team tumbled in the final pool when they lost both matches against the University of Ryukyu “A” team 11-25 and 17-25. In the last match against Obtain, the OKISLAM men lost 19-25 and 18-25 for a final round total of 37 to 50.

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