USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – The Air Force volleyball team opened Mountain West action with a 3-0 setback to Nevada this evening (Sept. 21) at the Academy’s Cadet East Gym. The Falcons, playing the first of four straight home contests, fell 25-16, 25-16, 25-20 to the conference-leading Wolf Pack (2-0).
Senior Piper Heineck registered seven blocks on the night, including three solo stops, as Air Force out-blocked Nevada 11-6. Junior Abigail Miksch led the Falcons with 10 kills, while classmate Shanleigh Conlan accounted for 18 of the team’s 29 assists. Freshman Alex King registered 10 digs, while Heineck and freshman Andi Ahlers each tallied a service ace to round out the Falcons’ stat leaders.
The Wolf Pack scored the first two points of the match, before Heineck and Miksch put down kills to even the score at two. The pair added another set of kills, while freshman Kathleen Medill and junior Sarah Hellman teamed up for a block, but Nevada used a 6-0 run to take a 13-5 advantage. Medill stopped the run with kill, before Heineck tallied three-straight points (two solo blocks, one assisted block with Hellman) to pull the Falcons within three (11-14). Heineck recorded two more kills, while sophomore Denise Ssozi and Miksch each added one, but Nevada claimed the opening set, 25-16.
Heineck and Ssozi teamed up for a block and the Falcons’ first point of the second set, but Nevada took the early 4-1 lead. Miksch (kill) and Heineck (ace) brought Air Force within one (3-4) and the two teams traded the next several points. Trailing 9-6, the Falcons scored five of the next six points to take an 11-10 advantage. Ssozi collected three kills during the run while Miksch and Heineck teamed up for a block and Hellman put down a kill. The Wolf Pack evened the score on the ensuing play and scored seven of the next eight points to go ahead by an 18-12 margin. Miksch, Hellman and Ssozi each collected another kill, but the Wolf Pack matched the first set’s score with another 25-16 win.
Freshman Cambria Galloway put down a kill to open the third set, but Nevada scored the next eight points to take the early advantage. Heineck stopped the run with a kill, while two attacking errors by the Wolf Pack cut the Falcons’ deficit in half (4-8). Medill tallied a kill and Ahlers recorded a service ace to keep the Falcons within four (6-10), while a solo stop from Heineck helped cut the Wolf Pack’s advantage to two (9-11). Air Force tied the set at 12, as kills from Hellman and Ssozi book-ended an Air Force block. Heineck (13) and Galloway (14) put down kills to keep the score even, but Nevada accounted for the next five points to take the lead at the 19-14 mark. Miksch contributed to five of the Falcons’ next six points, with two kills and three blocks (assisted by Medill), as the squad evened the set at 20. Following the tie, the Wolf Pack nabbed the final five points for the 25-21 victory.
Air Force continues its homestand on Saturday (Sept. 23), when it hosts San Jose State at noon.