Air Force Falls to West Virginia in Three
Sept. 4, 2009
DENVER, Colo. - The Air Force volleyball team dropped a 3-0 decision to West Virginia during its second match of the Denver Invitational on Friday, Sept. 4, in Colorado's state capital. The Falcons fell to the Mountaineers in straight 25-21, 25-19, 25-22 sets. Air Force moved to 4-2 on the season, while West Virginia improved to 4-1.
West Virginia picked up the first two points of the match, but a kill from junior Nichole Stilwell helped the Falcons even the score at two. The teams traded points, backed by kills from senior Michelle Harrington and a service ace from freshman Grace Konstanzer. A tip by junior Jessica Hellmann, as well as kills from Stilwell and junior Caroline Kurtz, upped the Falcons' lead to three (11-8). The Mountaineers retook the lead at 13-12, but a pair of kills by Harrington returned the lead to Air Force (16-15), West Virginia eventually won the meet by a 25-21 score.
Air Force scored first and maintained a 4-3 lead, thanks to a kill from Kurtz and a block from Kurtz and Stilwell. Freshman Grace Konstanzer added a kill and a service ace, as the Falcons went up by a 10-9 margin. Stilwell recorded another pair, while Kurtz, Harrington and Hellmann added individual scores. Following a block by Kurtz and Stilwell to give the Falcons a 17-16 lead, West Virginia embarked on a 9-2 run to earn the 25-19 victory.
The Mountaineers tallied the first seven points of the third set, before Harrington stopped the streak with a kill. West Virginia expanded its advantage to 10-3, but the Falcons slowly started their comeback. Stilwell, Kurtz and Harrington added kills to pull the Falcons within six at 13-7. Freshman Maile Lolohea tallied her first collegiate kill to spark an 8-0 Air Force run. Harrington and Hellmann teamed up for a block, while Harrington recorded a pair of solo stops. Freshman Maiya Perich, who served the Falcons during their comeback, recorded an ace to put the Falcons up 15-13. West Virginia retook the lead at 19-16, but Air Force tied it at 19 with a kill and an ace from Harrington and another kill from Hellmann. The Mountaineers halted another Air Force rally, as they went on to take the final set by a 25-22 margin.
Harrington and Stilwell paced the Falcons with eight kills apiece, while Kurtz added seven. Harrington also posted five blocks, including three solo stops. Junior Kelly Spencer recorded a team-high eight digs, while freshman Grace Konstanzer recorded two of the Falcons' four service aces. Hellmann assisted on 22 of the team's 33 kills.
"After winning this morning, I think that we let down," head coach Penny Lucas-White said following the match. "It's a sign of our youth. But tomorrow, we will return to the court, focused and fired up."
The Falcons conclude action at the Denver Invitational tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 5), when they face Southern Utah (11 a.m.) and Eastern Illinois (5 p.m.) at Hamilton Gym.