Stephanie Zavala, who is assigned to the 209th MP Detachment at Fort Benning, competed on the All-Army Women's Volleyball Team in the Armed Forces Championship May 7-11 at Cherry Point, N.C. The 26-year-old said volleyball is her favorite sport.

FORT BENNING, GA. Aca,!" SGT Stephanie Zavala had Aca,!A"an experience of a lifetime.Aca,!A?

Zavala, who is assigned to the 209th Military Police Detachment, was selected for All-Army WomenAca,!a,,cs Volleyball Trial Camp and then selected to play on the All-Army WomenAca,!a,,cs Volleyball Team in the Armed Forces Championship May 7-11 at Cherry Point, N.C.

Aca,!A"When I first found out I made it (to trial camp) Aca,!A| I was jumping up and down Aca,!" I was so excited,Aca,!a,,cAca,!A? she said.
In past years, she wanted to play for the All-Army team but because of deployments, was unable to.
Aca,!A"This year, I told myself, Aca,!EoeLet me see if I have what it takes to make it,Aca,!a,,cAca,!A? she said.

Zavala said volleyball is her favorite sport. The 26-year-old has played volleyball since her sophomore year in high school and played a season at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla., before joining the Army. After joining the Army, she played in intramural leagues.

After a Aca,!A"gruelingAca,!A? trial camp, Zavala played in the Armed Forces Championship, where Army lost to Navy on the first day. Day two, the Army beat the Marines, followed by a three-set loss to Air Force. Days three and four brought Army wins against the Navy and Marine Corps.

The final game against Air Force decided the Army teamAca,!a,,cs fate, Zavala said.

Aca,!A"The game against Air Force was an emotional rollercoaster,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"In order to be in medal contentions, we had to beat the Air Force. We went through five matches and lost in the last one.Aca,!A?

If Army won, it would have been tied with the Air Force and Navy for first place.

Aca,!A"We had a running chance (to win),Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"We lost our libero (defensive specialist) and we had to switch our formations. We were used to running a 4-2 and we had to go to a 5-1. We still did very well. We played an outstanding game, gave it our all, and left our hearts on the court and thatAca,!a,,cs all I could ask for.Aca,!A?

All-Army WomenAca,!a,,cs Volleyball head coach Corey Shaffer, a paralegal with the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate at Fort Benning, said the team worked hard.

Aca,!A"We were probably the strongest hitting team in the tournament,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"We had the most kills and ran a very effective offense. Teams we played had a hard time blocking us.Aca,!A?

Three of the players, Sarah Lusk, Erin Leavitt, and Danielle Cork, were chosen to compete at the 31st CISM World Military WomenAca,!a,,cs Volleyball Championship, which began Monday and will run until Wednesday at Cherry Point. Shaffer was named assistant coach.

Aca,!A"These players are the best of the best,Aca,!A? Shaffer said, about the CISM competition. Aca,!A"So far, Brazil looks like the biggest competition. They won the Olympics and the team has been playing together for many years.Aca,!A?
Although she didnAca,!a,,ct make it to the CISM championship team, Zavala said she is content with playing on the All-Army team.

Aca,!A"You play in intramural level volleyball and you are representing your unit, but when you put this jersey on, you are representing the Army,Aca,!A? Zavala said. Aca,!A"You sit back and think, Aca,!EoeI am one of 10 out of the United States Army to wear this jersey.Aca,!a,,c It is the most incredible feeling in the world. I feel lucky to be able to be one of those 10. It is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life to be able to wear the jersey and play the game I love.Aca,!A?

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16