Military News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Volley, set, match: McConnell Airman "set" to attend Air Force volleyball camp

by Senior Airman Colby L. Hardin
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


4/23/2015 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Even at a young age, she knew that she belonged on the court.

Airman 1st Class Abby Neel, 384th Air Refueling Squadron commander's support staff, has been playing volleyball since she was in the sixth grade. Following in her sister's footsteps she knew that volleyball was the perfect way to put her 5'9 height to good use.

Neel, a Colorado Springs, Colorado native, was selected to attend the All-Air Force volleyball camp this upcoming May.

"I expect these tryouts to be very intense," said Neel. "I think they'll try to tear us down as physically and mentally as they can during the first couple of weeks."

Neel has always been one of the better players on the court when playing volleyball. After high school, she received an academic scholarship and invitation to play at Johnson and Wales University in Denver.

After joining Team McConnell in 2013, Neel has played intramural volleyball every season here on base. She also donates some of her free time to playing off base playing recreationally and coaching children's volleyball.

"I applied for the [Air Force] team last year but I wasn't chosen," Neel said. "The application form was very descriptive, I needed to provide statistics, references and tournaments that I've played in to show my experience. Luckily, this year my application looked a little better, and I was selected."

Even with the experience of playing most of her life, Neel knows that she is in for something she has never experienced before. Her soon to be coach, offered some advice to Neel.

"[She needs to] be physically and mentally prepared upon arrival," said Lani Kekahuna, Air Force women's volleyball team coach, in an email. "Leave work and home issues all behind, there is zero tolerance for 'me' players."

During the tryouts, the players will go through eight hour practices, five days a week, starting May 4 - 28. Approximately 12 Airmen were chosen to tryout for the 10 available slots on the team. After being selected for the team, they will move on to play against other military branches in Detroit, for the 2015 Armed Forces Women's Volleyball Championship.

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