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Stuttgart’s Rachel Black accepts congratulations from her co-rec teammates Eric Latson (23) and Mark Fleming (29) Sunday during the Stallions’ 25-18, 20-25, 15-11 victory over Mannheim.
Stuttgart’s Rachel Black accepts congratulations from her co-rec teammates Eric Latson (23) and Mark Fleming (29) Sunday during the Stallions’ 25-18, 20-25, 15-11 victory over Mannheim. (Rusty Bryan/S&S)

WIESBADEN ARMY AIRFIELD, Germany — Stuttgart’s men, Wiesbaden’s women and Stuttgart’s men and women claimed Army-Europe volleyball crowns Sunday at the close of the two-day double-elimination Army-Europe community volleyball tournament.

Stuttgart’s men, Wiesbaden’s women and Stuttgart’s men and women?

What’s up with that? Has Stars and Stripes developed a stutter?

Not yet. The Army added a third category for the first time this season, what it calls "co-rec," meaning men and women competing on the same team. Three players of each sex on the floor at all times.

And "co-rec" doesn’t mean second-team, or not quite good enough for prime time, either. Far from it.

"Co-rec is the best," said Stutgart’s Maurice Evans, a seven-year veteran of the Stallions men’s team who skipped the mixed final because of a sore knee. "You get the best of the men and the best of the women."

Stuttgart mixed team 2, Mannheim 1: Sunday, the best of the men and women came from Stuttgart. The Stallions defeated winners-bracket champion Mannheim twice, 25-18, 21-25, 15-13 and 25-17, 13-25, 15-13.

"We’re exhausted," said Rachel Black about the women on the Stuttgart mixed team, who played 14 games on Sunday. In earning two trophies, the Stallion men played just eight.

The women, however, had a crutch, according to Black. Even though the mixed game’s pace of the ball often exceeds what’s found in the women’s game, Black said the co-rec version is less tiring.

"For women," she said, "there’s less effort. The men take on the brunt of the work. It’s our lazy game."

Stuttgart men 2, Mannheim 0: "We were firing on all cylinders," Evans said after his Stallions galloped through their two-day run without losing a game. "When one player was down, the others picked him up."

The championship victory was the second time Stuttgart had dumped the Mustangs two-zip in this five-team, two-day event. Sunday it was 25-19, 25-21. On Saturday, the Stallions sent Mannheim to the losers’ bracket with a 25-20, 25-19 verdict.

Evans, however, said it wasn’t as easy as it looked.

Wiesbaden women 2, Stuttgart 1: In stark contrast to the Stuttgart men, Wiesbaden’s women needed six games Sunday finally to subdue the Lady Stallions.

"We take everybody to three games," said Wiesbaden’s Peggy Keeley after the Lady Eagles prevailed 25-18, 21-25, 15-13 in the if-necessary game.

Wiesbaden lost Sunday’s first title game to Stuttgart 23-25, 25-17, 13-15, and won just one of their four matches here in straight sets.

"They’re tough," Keeley said. "This is the first time all year we’ve beaten them. We peaked at the right time."

Army-Europe championshipsWIESBADEN, Germany – Results Saturday and Sunday from the Army-Europe volleyball championships for men, women and mixed teams:

Saturday’s resultsMen

Wiesbaden def. Bamberg 25-0, 25-17

Stuttgart def. Mannheim 25-20, 25-11

Mannheim def. Bamberg 25-18, 25-17

Stuttgart def. Wiesbaden 25-20, 25-17

Women

Schweinfurt def. Mannheim 16-25, 25-16, 15-12

Wiesbaden def. Bamberg 25-22, 21-25, 18-16

Stuttgart def. Schweinfurt 13-25, 25-23, 15-11

Mannheim def. Bamberg 16-25, 25-14, 15-12

Wiesbaden def. Stuttgart 26-24, 25-23

Schweinfurt def. Mannheim 25-23, 12-25, 15-11

Mixed

Mannheim def. Heidelberg 26-24, 25-22

Bamberg def. Wiesbaden 22-25, 25-22, 15-9

Mannheim def. Stuttgart 25-12, 17-25, 15-13

Heidelberg def. Wiesbaden 25-23, 25-17

Bamberg def. Mannheim 16-25, 25-14, 15-12

Stuttgart def. Heidelberg 22-25, 25-19, 15-13

Sunday’s resultsMen

Losers-bracket final

Mannheim def. Wiesbaden 25-12, 25-12

Championship

Stuttgart def. Mannheim 25-19, 25-21

Women

Losers-bracket final

Stuttgart def. Schweinfurt 25-19, 25-19

First championship game

Stuttgart def. Wiesbaden 25-23, 17-25, 15-13

Final championship game

Wiesbaden def. Stuttgart 25-18, 21-25, 15-13

Mixed

Losers-bracket final

Stuttgart def. Bamberg 25-15, 25-21

First championship game

Stuttgart def. Mannheim 25-18, 20-25, 15-11

Final championship game

Stuttgart def. Mannheim 25-17, 13-25, 15-13

MVPs

(As voted by tournament coaches)

Men—Dave Ruiz, Stuttgart

Women—Roseanna Vega, Wiesbaden

Co-ed male—Mark Fleming, Stuttgart

Co-ed female—Kim Nguyen, Mannheim

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