Air Force Earns Comeback Win over Denver
Sept. 25, 2012
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - The Air Force volleyball team closed out its seven-match homestand with a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over in-state rival Denver on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the Academy. The Falcons' 18-25, 25-20, 19-25, 26-24, 15-9 victory improved their record to 7-9 overall and 4-3 on their home court.
Freshman Maggie Sherrill paced the Falcons with a career-high, match-leading 18 kills, while junior Cami Richan and freshman Felicia Clement added respective kill totals of 14 and 11. Sophomore Hillary Keltner recorded 48 assists and earned her league-leading 11th double-double of the year, as she added 10 digs. Defensively, sophomore Ayesha Hein accounted for a team-high five blocks (all assisted), while senior Maiya Perich led all players with 23 digs. Perich was one of three Falcons to tallied double-digit dig totals, joining Keltner and freshman Rebecca Bates, who added 11. Bates also accounted for a career-best four service aces, while Hein and junior Josalynn Wise each added two.
Denver jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first set, before three errors and a kill by Sherrill helped even the set at four. With Perich at the serving line, Air Force claimed the next four points (8-4) behind kills from Clement and Sherrill (two) and forced the Pioneers into their first timeout. Clement and Richan added kills, but several Air Force errors allowed Denver to tie the set at 12. The two teams traded the next several points, but Denver used a 7-1 run to erase a tie at 14-all. Keltner added one addition kill for the Falcons, but DU earned the 25-18 win with a pair of back-to-back blocks.
Richan scored the first point of the second set and Air Force jumped to a 4-1 lead behind consecutive kills from Sherrill (two) and Hein. Clement and Hein each added a pair of kills, but Denver pulled within one at 9-8. The Falcons pushed their lead to five (13-8) behind kills from Clement and Sherrill, as well as a Clement/Hein block. Sherrill added another pair of kills, while Keltner and Richan each added one, as the Flacons extended the score to 17-11. Hein added a service ace, while Sherrill (two) and classmate Taylor Parker combined for three kills to reach set point (24-18). Hein put down the final score, as Air Force evened the match with a 25-20 victory.
The Pioneers scored the first three points of the third set, but committed three straight errors to give the Falcons a 4-3 lead. The two squads traded points, with Sherrill (5-4), Hein (6-5) and Richan (8-7) keeping Air Force with a one-point advantage. Denver took the lead at 9-8, but Keltner (9-9) and Parker (10-10) kept the score tied, before Bates served an ace to give the one-point lead back to Air Force (11-10). Sherrill and Clement added kills, as the two squads continued to trade points. An ace by Wise and a block by Hein and Richan helped the Falcons to a 16-14 edge, but Denver closed out the set on an 11-5 run to take go up 2-1 in the match with a 25-19 set win.
Clement put down the first point of the fourth set, but Denver tallied the next three points to go up 3-1. Like the previous set, Air Force responded to even the set at four. The Falcons used kills from Parker and Hein, as well as Wise's second ace, to even the set. The Pioneers took a small advantage, but kills from Richan, Parker and Clement helped Air Force match Denver at 10. Another service ace by Bates gave the Falcons the lead and back-to-back scores from Parker and Sherrill gave the Falcons a 13-11 lead. The Pioneers tied the set at 13 and the teams traded points, accounting for deadlocked scores at 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19. Sherrill put down a kill to spark a 3-0 run by Air Force that resulted in the Falcons taking a 22-19 advantage. Clement added a kill, but Denver returned to even the set at 24-all. Air Force reached set-point on a service error by DU, before an ace from Hein secured the 26-24 victory for the Falcons.
The fifth set started with five straight points from Air Force, as Sherrill (two), Richan and Clement tallied kills and Bates earned another service ace. Parker and Sherrill added two more kills, as the teams reached the midway part of the deciding set with Air Force holding an 8-5 advantage. Hein collected another kill, while a block from Keltner and Parker put the Falcons up 10-7. Richan scored the Falcons' next three points, including back-to-back strikes that put Air Force at match-point (14-9). Bates concluded her career night at the line with her fourth ace to cement the Falcons' 15-9 victory.
Highlighted by a .350 hitting performance (10k-3e-20a) in the deciding set, Air Force hit .230 or better in the three sets it won
The Falcons, who finished the non-conference season with a 6-8 mark, return to Mountain West action on Friday, Sept. 28, when they travel to Boise State for a 7 p.m., matchup with the Broncos.