The all-Air Force women’s volleyball team personified readiness and resiliency en route to winning the Armed Forces Championship May 18-20, 2017, at Naval Station Mayport, Florida.
After losing to the Navy to open the tournament, Air Force captured the gold medal by winning five straight matches. Air Force coach Nicki Holmes said he wasn’t surprised the team regrouped after their loss.
“I think after playing a tough, five-set match to Navy, we put ourselves in the best possible position to win,” Holmes said. “I had full confidence in our ability to respond to adversity and execute the next day. Nothing really had to be said more than remembering who we are as a team and making sure we brought our intensity and fight to the next match. I do believe that as the tournament progressed, we focused on just getting one point at a time, no matter the circumstances.”
Air Force bounced back with a four-game victory over the Army. Leading the way was 2nd Lt. Felicia Clement of the 62nd Maintenance Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and 2nd Lt. Hillary Keltner of the 1st Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.
Clement, an outside hitter, averaged over 12 kills for the tournament. Keltner, a setter, averaged over 39 assists. Both were named to the 2017 Armed Forces All-Tournament team.
“Ultimately, after the Navy loss, we came together as a team and knew that it would be in our hands to control the odds the rest of the tournament,” Keltner said. “We talked about increasing communication on the court and executing more efficiently, and I think we did that.
“What makes volleyball so exciting is that on any given day, any team can win,” Keltner added. “We also had to be ready to adjust our strategy throughout the matches when we got down a few points or when our opponents started doing new things that we hadn’t particularly prepared for. We…