USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - The Air Force volleyball team dropped a five-set contest to California at the Academy on Sunday, Aug. 31, during the final day of competition at the Falcon Classic, in Honor of Amy Svoboda. Air Force finished the weekend with a 1-3 slate, while the Bears remained perfect on the short season with a 3-0 record.
Air Force dropped the opening set by a close 25-22 margin, but responded with a pair of 25-18, 25-19 victories over the Bears, who are receiving votes in the AVCA National Coaches' Poll. California evened the match with a 25-18 win in the fourth, before taking a 15-10 win in the deciding set to take the win.
"We're always disappointed with a loss," head coach Matt McShane said. "But, if we can figure out how to play like that every match ... we're going to win a whole lot of matches. All the players, all the coaches ... we know that's how good we are. Yes, a part of me is disappointed in the loss, because for two nights in a row, with a few points here and there, we win. But, I'm incredibly proud of this team and excited for the future."
Highlighted by a 15-kill performance from junior Raquel Rosas, four Falcons recorded double-digit kills. Classmate Maggie Sherrill accounted for 12 kills, while fellow junior Akokwe Clement and freshman Shelley Spires each tallied 11. With those 12 kills, Sherrill hit a match-best .524 during the contest, recording just one error on 21 swings. Air Force accounted for a season-high 67 kills, as 10 players recorded at least one score - including defensive specialists senior Emma Dridge and junior Rebecca Bates.
Defensively, Bates led the Falcons with 21 digs, while Dridge added 15. Clement added 10 digs to record her first double-double of the year, while senior Hillary Keltner, who accounted for 53 assists and 10 digs, moved into a tie for second on the program's Division I list for career double-doubles with 27. At the net, senior Kristen Holt accounted for a team-leading five blocks (all assisted), while Clement tallied assisted on four stops.
The Falcons return to action next weekend, when the host Houston Baptist, Marist and Weber State at the Air Force Invitational. Air Force opens action at its second home tournament in as many weeks on Friday (Sept. 5), when it takes on Marist at 7:00 p.m.