Falcons Unable to Complete Comeback, Fall to Memphis in Five
Sept. 11, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Air Force volleyball team rallied from a 2-1 deficit to force a deciding fifth set against tournament host Memphis, before falling 3-2 in the final match of the Tigers' own tournament on Saturday, Sept. 11, in Memphis, Tenn. Playing its third five-set match of the season, the Falcons fell in 18-25, 25-16, 14-25, 25-22, 8-15 sets.
Senior Nichole Stilwell recorded the set's first kill, but Memphis answered with a 10-1 run. Following a timeout by Air Force, the Falcons responded with 10 of the next 14 points to pull within two at the 14-12 mark. Senior Julia Hansen scored on three straight points, tallying two kills and assisting on a block with sophomore Preslee Maki. Stilwell, freshman Annalyse Schmitt and Kurtz added kills, while sophomore Maiya Perich recorded a service ace. Following kills by Kurtz and classmate Kelly Spencer, the Falcons narrowed the margin to one (17-16). Memphis closed out the set with another long scoring run to take the set by a 25-18 victory in the opening set.
Memphis struck first in the second set, but Air Force quickly tied the game at four behind a pair of kills from Kurtz and an assisted block from Maki and Stilwell. An attacking error by the Tigers gave Air Force the lead and back-to-back kills from Maki gave the Falcons a 7-4 advantage. Hansen added another kill, while Stilwell and Schmitt teamed up for a block. Schmitt collected a pair of back-to-back kills, as Air Force maintained a five-point lead. Senior Emily Frick came into the match and promptly recorded a service ace. Stilwell and classmate Jessica Hellmann added a block, while Kurtz and Hansen added kills. Perich concluded the set with her second service ace of the night, giving the Falcons a 25-16 win.
Despite a pair of kills from Kurtz, the Falcons found themselves down 6-2 to open the third set. Air Force pulled within one (7-6) following an ace by Kurtz and a kill from Hansen. Stilwell, Hansen and Schmitt added kills, but Memphis used a 9-0 run during the set to claim the 25-14 win.
Air Force scored the first three points of the fourth set, behind a block by Stilwell and Hellmann, as well as another ace by Perich. Kurtz, Hellmann and Stilwell combined for four kills as Air Force extended its lead to five (8-3). Following a Memphis timeout, the Tigers scored seven of the next eight points to take a 10-9 lead and force the Falcons to use a timeout of their own. Following that break, Air Force came out swinging, as Schmitt and Spencer traded kills and service aces. The Falcons bolstered their lead to five (20-15) behind kills from Hellmann, Stilwell and Kurtz, as well as an assisted block by Hellmann and Maki. Memphis scored four straight points to eventually pull within one at 21-20, but Maki stopped its run with a kill. Air Force concluded the 25-22 win with back-to-back kills from Stilwell and Kurtz.
The Tigers opened the final, deciding set with a 6-2 run. Schmitt and Stilwell combined for three kills, but the Falcons were unable to overcome the opening run Memphis, falling to the host school 15-8.
Kurtz led the Falcons will 15 kills. She also added 10 digs for another double-double. Kurtz was one of three Air Force players to record a double-figure total in digs. Perich led the squad with 13 digs, while Spencer added 12. Perich and Spencer also tied for the team lead with three service aces apiece. Hellmann accounted for 32 assists, while Stilwell paced both teams with eight blocks (all assisted).
Following the match, Kurtz was selected as the Falcons' representative to the all-tournament team.
The Falcons return to action next Friday (Sept. 17), when they travel to service academy rival Army for the West Point Challenge.