ARLINGTON, Va. - The Air Force volleyball team split its final day of action at the All-Academy Tournament at The Pentagon on Saturday, Sept. 8, in Arlington, Va. The Falcons swept the Citadel in straight sets during the morning match, before suffering a tough, hard-fought four-set loss to Army in the nightcap, while senior Maiya Perich became the first Division I player to surpass the 1,000-dig mark.
Air Force defeated The Citadel in straight 25-19, 25-16, 25-13 sets during the first match of the day. The victory, which matched the Falcons' win total from all of last year, improved the Falcons to 2-0 all time against the Bulldogs.
For the second straight match, sophomore Victoria Foster paced Air Force with a match-best 11 kills. Foster, who hit .333 (11k-3e-24a) for the contest, was one of five Falcons to hit over .300, as the team combined for a .318 average (49k-14e-110a). Classmate Hillary Keltner led the way with seven kills on 12 attempts (no errors) for a .583 average, while fellow sophomore Ayesha Hein posted a .467 mark with seven kills on 15 swings. Sophomore Lizzy Carpenter posted an average of .350 (9k-2e-20) and freshman Taylor Parker recorded an average of .308 (6k-2e-13a).
Keltner also led the team in assists with 37, while Carpenter amassed a match-best four assisted blocks. Keltner, sophomore Josalynn Wise and Perich, who posted half of the team's 48 digs, also recorded two service aces apiece.
The final match of the All-Academy Championship featured an Air Force-Army match that epitomized a service academy rivalry, as half of the four sets were decided by the minimum two points and went into extra play. After dropping the first set 25-21, the Falcons rebounded for a convincing 25-18 victory in the second, before falling in two heartbreaking 26-24, 31-29 losses.
Perich posted a season-high 30 digs against the Black Knights to become the Falcons' first Division I player to reach the 1,000-dig plateau (1,025 total). Her performance - just six behind the DI record of 36 that she last year - helped boost the Falcons to 93 total digs - a mark only four shy of the team DI record that has stood since 2007.
Junior Cami Richan paced the Falcons with a match-leading 19 kills, while freshman Maggie Sherrill, who didn't enter the game until the third set, stepped up to record a team-leading .462 average (7k-1e-13a). Sophomore Hillary Keltner notched her sixth double-double of the season, recording 44 assists and 20 digs. Freshman Rachael Bradley Powers collected both of the team's service aces, while Parker set a season-best seven assists (one solo-six assists) for the Falcons.
Air Force opens its 2012 home slate this Thursday (Sept. 13) when it hosts Colorado at 7 p.m.