Falcons Unable to Hold Lead, Fall to Utah Valley in Five
Sept. 3, 2010
OREM, Utah - Despite taking the first two sets, the Air Force volleyball team was unable to overcome a three-game rally by Utah Valley, falling to the host Wolverines in five on Friday, Sept. 4, in Orem, Utah. Air Force took the first two sets by matching 25-21 scores, but dropped the remaining sets by 17-25, 21-25, 10-15 scores.
Senior Caroline Kurtz paced the Falcons with 20 kills, while adding 14 digs for her second double-double in as many days. Kurtz also recorded the squad's long service ace. Classmate Kelly Spencer collected a team-leading 21 digs; joining Kurtz, freshman Josalynn Wise (17) and sophomore Maiya Perich (16) as Falcons to record double-digit totals in digs. Wise paced the Falcons with 30 assists, while classmate Caitie Campbell and senior Julia Hansen tied for the team lead in blocks with four assisted stops.
Utah Valley scored first, but Air Force rebounded to tie the set at three. Kurtz contributed a pair of kills during the Falcons' early going. The two squads went back and forth, trading points so that no team led by more than two. Hansen and freshman Cami Richan added kills, while Hansen teamed up with Campbell for a block. The Falcons went up by three at 23-20 thanks to a diving, play-saving dig by Spencer. Despite being out-killed in the set by a 16-6 margin, the Falcons committed eight fewer attacking errors en route to the 25-21 win.
It took just seven points into the second set for Air Force to accumulate more kills than in the opening period. With four kills from Kurtz, a pair from freshman Annalyse Schmitt and another score from senior Nichole Stilwell gave the Falcons a 9-6 lead. The Wolverines tied the set at 12, but a block helped the Falcons take the lead for good. Stilwell collected four kills and Schmitt added two as Air Force upped its advantage to 21-18. With a pair of kills, Hansen scored the 22nd and 24th points and a Utah Valley serve into the net gave the Falcons its second consecutive 25-21 win.
Despite a pair of kills from Kurtz, the third set saw Air Force down by six (9-3) in the opening minutes. Schmitt added a kill, but the Wolverines continued to add to their lead. Trailing 20-10, Schmitt split the defenders with three strikes. An over-pass from Spencer turned into a kill, as Air Force earned seven of the next 11 points, before Utah Valley claimed the final point for the 25-17 win.
Air Force began the fourth set in a 4-2 hole. Kurtz claimed a kill and notched the team's first service ace to tie the set at four, but Utah Valley claimed the next three points. The Falcons responded with three points of their own, behind a kill from Schmitt and a block from Hansen and Stilwell. The pair, along with Kurtz, added kills, but the Falcons found themselves down 15-11. Schmitt and Stilwell added back-to-back kills, while two UVU errors helped the Falcons cut their deficit to three (19-16). Another kill by Kurtz allowed the Falcons to bring the score to 20-18, but Utah Valley scored five of the next eight points to put away the fourth set by a 25-21 margin.
In the deciding set, Kurtz tallied a kill and Hansen and Campbell combined for a block, but the Falcons found themselves down 9-5. Stilwell and Schmitt each added a kill, before Kurtz put down a pair of back-to-back tallies, but Utah Valley completed the comeback with a 15-10 win.
The Falcons return to action on Friday, Sept. 10, when it begins the first day of competition at the Memphis Invitational against La Salle at 4 p.m., in Memphis, Tenn.