Sept. 20, 2012
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Sophomore Hillary Keltner recorded her 1,000th career assist on Thursday, Sept. 20, while the Air Force volleyball team dropped a 3-1 conference opener to UNLV at the Academy. The Falcons won the opening set 25-18, before falling in straight 20-25, 22-25, 21-25 sets.
Keltner had a career night for the Falcons, collecting a career-high 51 assists and leading the team in digs with 19 for her league-leading ninth double-double. With her first assist of the night, the sophomore became the seventh Air Force player since 1996 (when the team joined Division I) to amass 1000 career helpers.
Junior Cami Richan led all players with 17 kills, while freshmen Felicia Clement and Maggie Sherrill each added 13 and sophomore Ayesha Hein recorded 11. Richan and Hein also paced the team with .333 hitting averages, while Sherrill and sophomore Kristen Holt each accounted for a pair of assisted blocks. Senior Maiya Perich, who tallied double-digit digs with 13, also recorded the squad's two service aces.
Richan and Holt started the scoring with back-to-back kills, as the Falcons maintained the lead during the opening minutes of the match. The Rebels evened the score at nine, but three straight kills from Clement, Holt and Richan helped advance the Falcons' lead to 15-9. Clement and Hein each added a pair of kills, while Holt and Keltner helped put away the Rebels, 25-18.
UNLV struck first in the second set and quickly pulled out to a 10-6 lead. Kills from Sherrill and Keltner helped the Falcons pull within one (11-10), but another long scoring streak by the Rebels took the lead to 16-10. Clement, Keltner, Richan and Sherrill added kills, while Perich recorded an ace, but UNLV took the second set 25-20.
The final two sets went back-and-forth, highlighted by 23 tied scores and 13 lead changes. UNLV took its largest lead of the third set of just three points at the 16-13 mark. That lead became enough, as the Rebels went on to take the set 25-22. Richan struck first in the fourth set, but again, the two teams traded points, until a tie at 15-all. The Rebels claimed the two ensuing points, but kills from Richan and Hein kept the Falcons within one (17-16, 19-18). Clement, Sherrill and Hein each recorded an additional kill, but UNLV won the set 25-21 to complete the comeback.
Air Force returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 22, when it hosts conference newcomer Fresno State at 7 p.m. A free volleyball clinic for youth (eighth grade and under) will precede the match, beginning at 5 p.m.