Falcons Claim 3-1 Victory Over Bryant
Sept. 2, 2011
DENVER, Colo. - Backed by a combined 30 kills from sophomore Cami Richan and freshman Ayesha Hein, the Air Force volleyball team defeated Bryant, 3-1, during the second day of action at the Denver Invitational on Friday, Sept. 2. The Falcons won the first two sets by matching 25-21 scores. After falling to the Bulldogs 25-21 in the third game, Air Force rallied in the final set to take a 25-22 win.
Richan and Hein collected 15 kills apiece, while Hein posted four blocks and a team-leading .500 hitting percentage. The first-year Falcon connected on 15 of 28 attempts, while committing just one error. Freshman Hillary Keltner paced the field with 43 assists and accounted for a team-best three service aces, while junior Maiya Perich recorded a match-best 23 digs.
Freshman Victoria Foster put the Falcons on the board to open the match, while a kill from Hein helped the Falcons out to a 4-1 lead. The Bulldogs evened the score at six, before freshmen Hillary Keltner and Kristen Holt added back-to-back kills to put the Falcons up two (8-6). Air Force increased its lead to four (12-8) with kills from Richan, Foster and freshman Lizzy Carpenter. Bryant pulled within one at 13-12, but the Falcons scored eight of the next 10 points to go up 20-14. Richan, Foster and Hein added kills, as the Falcons held off a late rally by the Bulldogs to win the first set 25-21.
Foster scored first in the second set, as Air Force took a 4-0 lead. Bryant scored the next four points, before Hein and freshman Emma Dridge stopped the Bulldogs' run with a kill and service ace, respectively. The two squads traded points, with the Falcons earning points from Richan and classmate Claire Bieber. Carpenter helped the Falcons to a two-point lead (14-12), before kills from Bieber and Richan extended the lead to three (16-13). Bryant came back to tie the set at 17, but Richan, freshman Megan Clary and Keltner pushed the Falcons out to a 21-17 lead. The Bulldogs again cut their deficit to one (21-20), but Holt and Bieber stopped their run with a pair of kills. Clary added another kill as Air Force won the second set by a 25-21 score.
Bryant scored the first two points of the third set and maintained a narrow advantage, despite kills from Bieber, Hein, Keltner and Holt. An ace from Richan brought the Falcons within one and a Bryant error evened the set at eight. Bieber and Hein put down kills to keep the score tied at 11, while Hein and Richan evened the game at 15. Richan put down a pair of back-to-back strikes to give Air Force a 17-16 lead, but Bryant retook the lead two points later. Carpenter and Holt added kills as the Falcons tied the set at 20, but Bryant scored five of the final six points to take a 25-21 victory.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the fourth set, before the Falcons went on a 5-0 run of their own, highlighted by an ace from Keltner and a kill from Holt. The two teams traded points, with Carpenter and Hein tying the set at seven and nine, respectively. Air Force went up one at the 12-11 mark behind a pair of kills from Hein. The Falcons extended their advantage to three, in part from a kill by Carpenter. Foster added kills at the 19-16 and 20-17 marks to keep the Falcons lead at three, while Hein tallied back-to-back kills to bump Air Force's lead to four. Richan scored the Falcons' final three points, as Air Force took the set by a 25-22 score.
"We played very well in the first two sets," head coach Matt McShane said. "We didn't let Bryant do too much in those sets, but Bryant pushed us back in the third set. It was a tough fourth set and it was important to get the win. This was huge for our confidence. Winning is good."
Air Force concludes action at the Denver Invitational today at 5 p.m., when it faces 13th-ranked Purdue at Denver's Hamilton Gymnasium.