CAMP GEORGE, South Korea – Andrew Kim took the pass from Von Matheny with his back to the net, bumped it over his head through the Daegu defense and onto the floor. And the celebration began. Multiple celebrations. Kim’s overhead bump capped an historic first for the Humphreys boys volleyball team, which rallied from a 2-1 set deficit past the Warriors 8-25, 25-17, 13-25, 25-16, 15-12 Friday at Daegu’s Warrior Gym. It was the first victory in any sport for the school, which opened its doors Aug. 26, The start of the boys season had been delayed because not enough players turned out initially for tryouts. Ashley Gooch – a Taegu American graduate, Class of 2005 – coached both the boys and girls teams in the absence of regular girls coach Faye Hobson, on emergency leave in the States. The new high school opened in the old Humphreys Elementary School. Humphreys’ high school building still isn’t ready. Neither is the gym. The Blackhawks have to practice at Super Gym or MP Gym on Camp Humphreys. Other than one of her players attending a summer camp, “none of them have played in their lives,” Gooch said as the team celebrated the victory with the Blackhawks girls players on the court. “They’re so excited. It’s great.” Humphreys pulled ahead 8-3 in the final set, but the Warriors roared back to cut it to 12-11 before the Blackhawks sealed it. “It’s fun,” Kim said. “I’m so excited. I’m shaking,” said Gooch, 26, a 2005 Taegu American School graduate in her third year as an educator; the native of Largo, Fla., and graduate of the University of South Florida who lived in Daegu most of her life teaches at Humphreys Elementary. Prior to the match, she’d spent time walking around her old stomping grounds, even running into people who remembered her as a student. “Nostalgia overload,” she said during warm-ups. By coincidence, the younger sister of one of Gooch’s old Taegu American teammates, Emily Cox, plays for Humphreys. Kelli Cox graduated from Taegu in 2006 and was part of Warriors teams that won Far East small-schools championships in volleyball and basketball. The Humphreys girls weren’t as fortunate, falling to Gooch’s old Warriors team 25-17, 25-7, 25-16. The Warriors are 6-0, with every match won in straight sets. The Humphreys football field is ready and it hosted its first game Friday, a non-varsity contest with the Blackhawks falling to Osan American, 26-17.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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