Teams to get a taste of volleyball postseason
By GREGORY BROOME | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 21, 2017
A set of DODEA-Europe volleyball tournament previews are scheduled for this weekend as divisional rivals from across the continent gather to see where they stand.
Division I holds two such gatherings at opposite ends of Europe, featuring all four of the remaining Division I teams boasting unbeaten records this fall.
At Vicenza, two-time defending European champion Stuttgart and fellow unbeaten Naples headline a four-team meet also including Vilseck and the host Cougars. Stuttgart is entering a tough stretch of divisional matchups, while Naples will see its first Division I action of the year.
In Belgium, the SHAPE Spartans host Division I’s other two unbeaten squads in Ramstein and Lakenheath. Ramstein has the early look of a contender with a signature win over Wiesbaden among its three opening victories. Lakenheath, like Naples, gets its first taste of divisional competition after sweeping four smaller schools over the season’s opening two weekends.
Entries in DODEA-Europe’s smaller divisions enjoy similar measuring-stick meets.
Aviano, mired in an 0-4 start to the season, plays host to divisional rivals Marymount and Rota in hopes of reversing the downward trend. The matches represent the whole of Rota’s 2017 regular-season schedule, though that has rarely prevented the Admirals from factoring heavily into the postseason tournament.
Centrally located Brussels, finally, is an appropriate setting for a gathering of widely dispersed Division III programs. Among the four participants are the teams at DODEA-Europe’s northern and southern extremes, Alconbury and Sigonella, along with eastern German program Hohenfels.
Defending Division III champion Sigonella has been solid early this season in a 2-2 start against larger Italian opponents. But Alconbury brings the division’s only undefeated record into the meet, having knocked off defending Division II champion Spangdahlem and divisional rivals Baumholder, Hohenfels and Ansbach in a furious 4-0 start.