Fort Bragg is the home of the Airborne and Special Operation Forces and U.S. Army 1st Lt. Abbey McConnell. This Soldier is jumping at the opportunity to be selected for the All-Army Volleyball Team.
McConnell is attending volleyball trial camp that began Feb. 14 and will run through March 5 at Ritz-Epps Physical Fitness Center. McConnell will advance to compete against the other military services in the Armed Forces Volleyball Tournament held at Fort Bragg, March 6 through 8 with selection for the team.
This is no small task for the maintenance platoon leader of Delta Troop, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, a part of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. However, with her Army and athlete skills combined, McConnell comes fully equipped to manage the task at hand.
“My experience at trial camp has pushed me outside my comfort zone; the level of play is high and the experience alone has bettered my proficiency,” McConnell said.
With a rich familiarity in the sport, McConnell returns to her roots on the indoor court at Fort Bragg.
“As an Army brat, I grew up in Germany and played for my high school team and then for a German club team,” McConnell said. “When I went to college, because I was focusing on Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), I played for a beach volleyball team through the U.S. junior volleyball pipeline for the Olympic teams at a beach center in Seattle, Washington.”
McConnell trained with several professional athletes under the U.S. Junior Pipeline and gained exposure to the demands of competition there.
As an Army pilot, the volleyball trial camp has given McConnell an inspirational step back from flying, to focus on her mission as an athlete and confirm her motivation for the next chapter in her career, of making pilot and command. A natural leader, McConnell enjoys coaching as well and recognizes that the All-Army volleyball team pursuit is a good stepping stone for the experience she needs to coach at the next level.
McConnell intends to make herself the best support she can be, wherever she is needed, for her team.
“It has been so cool to come together as a team, and get to know all these amazing players and Soldiers,” McConnell said. “Women in the military, we must hold each other up. And this is the perfect environment to do that.”