Volleyball --bigger than just a game

Members of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa women's volleyball team celebrate after a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship match in Amsterdam, March 27, 2014. The women’s team upheld their undefeated record throughout the three days of matches. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Members of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa women's volleyball team celebrate after a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship match in Amsterdam, March 27, 2014. The women’s team upheld their undefeated record throughout the three days of matches. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Caroline Kurtz, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa women’s volleyball team outside hitter from Albuquerque, N.M., goes up to spike a volleyball during a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship tournament in Amsterdam, March 25, 2014. Kurtz went on to receive the MVP award for all competing women’s teams throughout the tournament. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Caroline Kurtz, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa women’s volleyball team outside hitter from Albuquerque, N.M., goes up to spike a volleyball during a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship tournament in Amsterdam, March 25, 2014. Kurtz went on to receive the MVP award for all competing women’s teams throughout the tournament. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Stuart Sherman, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa men’s volleyball team outside hitter from Tuscon, Ariz., tapes his fingers before a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship match in Amsterdam, March 26, 2014. Players tape their fingers to stiffen their joints while blocking a ball to avoid injury. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Stuart Sherman, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa men’s volleyball team outside hitter from Tuscon, Ariz., tapes his fingers before a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship match in Amsterdam, March 26, 2014. Players tape their fingers to stiffen their joints while blocking a ball to avoid injury. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Stuart Sherman, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa men’s volleyball team outside hitter from Tuscon, Ariz., center, dives for the ball during a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship match in Amsterdam, March 26, 2014. Sherman received the outstanding sportsmanship award for his actions displayed during the tournament. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Stuart Sherman, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa men’s volleyball team outside hitter from Tuscon, Ariz., center, dives for the ball during a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship match in Amsterdam, March 26, 2014. Sherman received the outstanding sportsmanship award for his actions displayed during the tournament. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Members of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa men's volleyball team huddle up before a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship match in Amsterdam, March 27, 2014. The men’s team finished the tournament in third place out of the six countries representing their respective air force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Members of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa men's volleyball team huddle up before a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship match in Amsterdam, March 27, 2014. The men’s team finished the tournament in third place out of the six countries representing their respective air force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Members of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa women’s volleyball team cheer for the men’s team during a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship match in Amsterdam, March 27, 2014. The women’s team has placed first in six of the last six championships they have participated in including this year’s tournament. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Members of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa women’s volleyball team cheer for the men’s team during a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship match in Amsterdam, March 27, 2014. The women’s team has placed first in six of the last six championships they have participated in including this year’s tournament. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Sabido, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron physician’s assistant from Guam, applies tape to Kristina Stewart, left, women’s U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa volleyball team outside hitter from Phoenix, before a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship tournament in Amsterdam, March 25, 2014. Sabido traveled with the team as medical support throughout the duration of their stay in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Sabido, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron physician’s assistant from Guam, applies tape to Kristina Stewart, left, women’s U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa volleyball team outside hitter from Phoenix, before a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship tournament in Amsterdam, March 25, 2014. Sabido traveled with the team as medical support throughout the duration of their stay in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

The final score of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa women's volleyball final match rests on the judge’s table during a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship tournament in Amsterdam, March 27, 2014. The women’s team took first place for the eighth year in a row after a 3 – 0 match against their German rivals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

The final score of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa women's volleyball final match rests on the judge’s table during a Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship tournament in Amsterdam, March 27, 2014. The women’s team took first place for the eighth year in a row after a 3 – 0 match against their German rivals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Volleyball teams from six nations form up for the closing ceremony of the Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship tournament in Amsterdam, March 27, 2014. Members from the U.S., Polish, British, German, Dutch and Belgian air forces represented their countries in the volleyball tournament. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

Volleyball teams from six nations form up for the closing ceremony of the Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championship tournament in Amsterdam, March 27, 2014. Members from the U.S., Polish, British, German, Dutch and Belgian air forces represented their countries in the volleyball tournament. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)

AMSTERDAM - -- Music plays as groups of athletes marched into the gymnasium. Competitors from six nations gathered as their respective national anthems played to mark the beginning of the Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Programme Volleyball Championships March 25, 2014.

With every passing moment, the look of determination intensified on the faces of military members saluting to honor their country as they prepared for the upcoming tournament.

"When we walked in for the opening ceremony and they played our anthem, it felt almost like the Olympics," said Maria Ralston, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa women's volleyball team setter from Spangdahlem Air Base. "I had chills."

As the music ceased, an uproar of cheers and chanting filled the halls. The building was full of excitement and emotion as athletes battle it out on the court.

Language barriers did not exist in this world. United by one common goal, the competitors cheered on one another to do their best.

"At the end of the day it is about us making friends," said Miguel Figeroa, USAFE-AFAFRICA men's volleyball team outside hitter from Spangdahlem Air Base. "Making friends and good relations with other countries and just enjoy the time that we spend together."

Between games athletes sat down and ate together. Questions about culture and life in one another's military sparked curiosity and kept participants on the edge of their seat.

Some even exchanged team shirts as a sign of camaraderie, mutual respect and a keepsake for returning home.

The tournament concluded with a banquet held to celebrate the hard work displayed throughout the competition.

Besides trophies given to the first-place teams, team members received awards for MVP and outstanding sportsmanship.

"And its way bigger than me," said Shane Spice, USAFE-AFAFRICA men's volleyball team middle blocker. "It's about getting a chance to meet with the same people that you may see in a wartime environment or in a deployed location where it's just work. This gives us a chance to shake hands, talk, interact and get to know them personally. You may seem them again, and maybe this is the venue where you met someone."