Sept. 22, 2012
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - The Air Force volleyball team claimed its first conference victory since 2010 with an impressive 3-1 victory over league-newcomer Fresno State on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Academy. The win, the Falcons' first against the Bulldogs in five all-time meetings, improved Air Force to 6-9 on the year and 1-1 in conference play.
The Falcons, who had seven players hit better than .200 on the night, split the first two sets (25-23, 18-25), before taking the final two sets by matching 25-19 scores to improved to .500 on the opening weekend of Mountain West action.
Junior Cami Richan posted a team-leading 16 kills, while freshman Felicia Clement added 11. Freshman Taylor Parker, who returned to the lineup after missing four matches with an injury, hit a match-best .429 (4k-1e-7a), while Clement (.375, 11k-2e-24a) and sophomore Ayesha Hein (.312, 7k-2e-16a) both hit over .300. Freshman Maggie Sherrill (8k-2e-24a) and sophomore Kristen Holt (1k-0e-4a) both hit .250, while Richan added a .205 average (16k-7e-44a) to the line. In addition, freshman defensive specialist Rebecca Bates tallied a kill on her only attempt for her second kill of the year.
Parker also paced the Falcons in blocks with a career-best matching seven (one solo-six assisted). She was one of seven Air Force players who accounted for a total of 23 blocks (one solo-22 assisted). Sophomore Hillary Keltner accounted for 42 assists and 11 digs for her conference-leading 10th double-double. Senior Maiya Perich paced all players with 17 digs, while junior Josalynn Wise accounted for two of the team's five service aces (Keltner, Bates and Perich had the others).
Fresno State took the first point of the match, but kills from Richan and Hein gave the Falcons a quick 3-2 lead. Following a 4-4 tie, Hein and Keltner put down kills to give the Falcons a 6-4 advantage. Another kill from Richan helped put Air Force up three (10-7), while Clement and Sherrill helped maintain a two-point advantage for the Falcons. The Bulldogs evened the score at 15 and took the lead on the ensuing point. Air Force benefitted from an attacking error by Fresno State to put the score in a 17-all tie, while a kill from Clement regained the Air Force advantage at 18-17. The two programs continued to trade points, tying the set at 18, 19, 20, 22 and 23, before back-to-back kills from Holt and Clement secured the Falcons' 25-23 victory.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a fast 4-1 lead to start the second set, while a kill by Clement was the first offensive point for Air Force at 5-3. Fresno State continued to lead the set, doubling up the Falcons at 12-6, before taking a 20-11 advantage. Richan put down a pair of back-to-back scores, as Air Force held the Bulldogs at 21 points and cut the deficit to 21-15. Clement and Holt teamed up for a block, but Fresno State claimed the set 25-18.
Despite giving up the first point of the third set, Air Force rolled to a fast 4-1 advantage, behind a pair of assisted blocks from Clement and Parker. Sherrill and Hein added kills, before Wise served up back-to-back aces to force the Bulldogs into a timeout at the 8-4 mark. Sherrill and Richan combined for three kills as Air Force maintained a four-point advantage at 13-9. Fresno State cut the Falcons' lead to two (14-12), but Air Force responded with kills from Parker and Clement, as well as a block by Hein and Sherrill, and regained its four-point margin (18-14). Richan put down back-to-back scores to go up 22-16, while Parker recorded a kill and block (assisted by Sherrill) to cement the Falcons' 25-19 win.
Air Force came out strong in the fourth set, rolling to a 5-1 lead behind blocks from Parker (one solo, one assisted by Clement) and an ace from Bates. Clement, Bates and Sherrill added kills, while Hein and Keltner teamed up for a block, as the Falcons extended their lead to 10-3. Richan added a pair of scores, but Fresno State pulled within three at 13-10. Air Force used kills from Clement and Sherrill, as well as an ace from Perich, to go up six (16-10). Hein put down a kill and teamed up with Keltner on another block, while a score from Richan put the Falcons at the 20-point plateau (20-14). The blocking combinations of Richan/Parker and Keltner/Parker bookended a kill from Richan, as the Falcons went up 23-14. Despite a late 5-1 run by Fresno State, a kill from Parker helped Air Force to the 25-19 victory.
The Falcons close out the non-conference slate on Tuesday, Sept. 25, when they host in-state rival Denver at 7 p.m.