“Hey, you look familiar!”

The Vilseck Falcons and Ansbach Cougars are scheduled to play each other Saturday in a four-team DODDS-Europe volleyball meet at Stuttgart. Each would rather play one of the other teams at the meet.

It’s not that the Falcons and Cougars don’t like each other. It’s just that they’ve already played each other twice this fall, in the season’s first two weekends. Vilseck has won both matches, but Ansbach won a set, and that’s a cool moment for a Division II team against a Division I opponent.

But that moment’s passed, and the match the teams played Saturday wasn’t that close.

Vilseck wants to play Ramstein, because Ramstein is the defending Division I champion and Vilseck wants to see exactly how good Ramstein is. But Ramstein is playing against Ansbach and Patch.

And Ansbach wants to play Patch, because Ansbach hasn’t played Patch yet because it’s been too busy playing Vilseck. They won’t even play all season, including in the tournament since Ansbach is in Division II and Patch is in Division I. But Patch is playing against Vilseck and Ramstein.

But Vilseck and Ansbach are making the best of it.

Vilseck coach Brian Swenty said “regular-season matches can be a double-edged sword,” with the potential to build valuable momentum for a team while artificially boosting its confidence.

“You do have to be careful about how you handle success or failure. It is all relative,” Swenty said. “If you are playing smaller or much larger schools than you will face at the European championships, you must be mindful of how much you really learn as a team.”

Ansbach coach Desma Colburn said she’ll look for signs of progress in her team’s latest meeting with the Falcons, while her team enjoys playing without the pressure of heavy expectations.

“It will be great to see how we improve each time we play Vilseck,” Colburn said. “With our regular-season schedule we have nothing to lose. We are facing Division I teams almost every weekend. It gives us a chance to let loose, have fun and compete.”

They play each other again Oct. 25.

Twitter: @broomestripes

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