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22nd SOPS undefeated, earns volleyball championship title

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The 22nd Space Operations Squadron team members present their trophy after their victory during the 14th annual Schriever Intramural Volleyball Championship at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, May 16, 2018. The team defeated the combined 6th Space Operations Squadron and 310th Space Wing 25-15 in the final game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kathryn Calvert)

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Teams shake hands at the conclusion of the 14th annual Intramural Championship Volleyball game at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, May 16, 2018. The 22nd Space Operations Squadron beat the combined 6th Space Operations Squadron and 310th Space Wing team, going undefeated the entire season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kathryn Calvert)

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Gregory Allen with the 22nd Space Operations Squadron team sets up a serve during the final game of the 14th annual Intramural Championship Volleyball game at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, May 16, 2018. After a tough battle, 22nd SOPS took the win over the combined 6th Space Operations Squadron and 310th Space Wing team with a final score of 25-15. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kathryn Calvert)

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Eric Wilson with the 1st Space Operations Squadron performs a backwards hit over the net during the 14th annual Schriever Intramural Volleyball Championship tournament at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, May 10, 2018. 1st SOPS ended the tournament winning two matches and losing seven. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kathryn Calvert)

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Korey Kuykendall with the 4th Space Operations Squadron executes a set to his hitter during the 14th annual Schriever Intramural Volleyball Championship tournament at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, May 10, 2018. Team National Reconnaissance office Operations Squadron took the win after a very close tie-breaker game. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kathryn Calvert)

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The United States Air Force Warfare Center attempts to hit the ball past the 2nd Space Operations Squadron during the 14th annual Schriever Intramural Volleyball Championship tournament at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, May 10, 2018. The USAWFC walked away with the win, and ended the tournament winning six matches and losing three. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kathryn Calvert)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The 22nd Space Operations Squadron earned the Intramural Volleyball Championship title at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, May 16.

 

22nd SOPS beat the combined 6th Space Operations Squadron and 310th Space Wing team, wrapping up an undefeated season.

 

John Baldwin, 22nd SOPS team captain, has been playing volleyball for more than 40 years, and has played on the 22nd SOPS team since his arrival at Schriever AFB in 1999.

 

He said the team played well, and their mentality going into the championship game was to treat it like any other game.

 

“Although it was a championship game, it’s just volleyball,” he said. “If we lose we lose, and it’s been a great season. We went undefeated, and I had a really good supporting cast on this team.”

 

Baldwin added the entire season, up until the final three matches, the team was playing with only five players instead of six, and still managed to secure the undefeated title.

 

Gregory Allen with 22nd SOPS said they had good competition in the championship game.

 

“The 310th SW and 6th SOPS were a great team and technically sound,” he added. “The difference was I think they got nervous and we didn’t.”

 

Both Baldwin and Allen said a big part of the reason they won was because the team meshed well.

 

“We had a lot of strong plays,” Allen said. “It was just a lot of good-looking volleyball.”

 

“We always stayed up, and never got down on ourselves,” Baldwin added.

 

Looking forward, Baldwin said the team will be down a player because he will be retiring in July, but has high hopes for the team.

 

“The best part of the season was watching the young guys,” he said. “They learn super-fast, and do that by watching the older people.”

 

Timothy Gasmire with the 6th Space Operations Squadron, was surprised the 6th SOPS and 310th Space Wing team got the number two seed coming off the season. 

 

There was a three-way tie for 2nd place, and they had the tie-breaker, so the team got the first game bye. 

 

“We played the United States Air Force Warfare Center team in the semi-finals, who were very good,” he said. “In that match, our team played a solid game and won in two sets. Then we met 22nd SOPS in the final. They were a great team this season, but we took them to three sets in a very close game, so we thought we had a pretty good chance against them in the championship game.”

 

Unfortunately for Gasmire’s team, 22nd SOPS started the game strong and never let up.

 

“They played a solid game and made few errors. We played a solid game too, but we weren’t able to keep up with them,” he added.

 

Although Gasmire’s team lost, he wasn’t too upset because the two teams have a good relationship.

 

“We have had good camaraderie with the 22nd SOPS teams over the last several years,” he said. “We just tried to have fun.”

 

Gasmire added the team was missing three key players, and a couple of injuries meant they had to make some adjustments to the lineup, making it difficult to get ahead in the final match.

 

“Once 22nd SOPS began to run away with each set, we found it difficult to catch up,” he said. “If we had to lose, I was glad we lost to 22nd SOPS. They are great competitors, and all around good guys.”

 

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Current 2018 Commander’s Cup standings:

First place: 4th Space Operations Squadron, 930 points

Second place: 50th Operations Support Squadron, 595 points

Third place: 6th Space Operations Squadron, 540 points

Fourth place: 2nd Space Operations Squadron, 435 points

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