USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – The Air Force volleyball team began the second week of Mountain West action with a 3-0 loss to Wyoming on Thursday, Sept. 28, in front of a capacity crowd at Cadet East Gym. The Falcons, who fell to 7-10 on the season (0-3 in conference play), were swept by the visiting Cowgirls in straight 25-20, 25-21, 25-22 sets.
Junior Abigail Miksch paced all players with 14 kills and three service aces, while connecting at a team-best clip of .393 (14k-3e-28). Classmate Shanleigh Conlan, who notched the Falcons’ other ace, collected a team-high 18 assists. Sophomore Denise Ssozi (eight digs) and senior Piper Heineck (four blocks, all assisted) rounded out the Falcons’ stat leaders.
Wyoming used an early 4-1 run to open the match, before freshman Cambria Galloway put down a kill and assisted on a block (Heineck) to bring the Falcons within one (3-4). Air Force remained within one after a kill from junior Lauren Heldt (8-9), but the Cowgirls used a 6-1 run to extend its advantage to six (15-9). Heineck stopped their run with a kill at the 15-10 mark, while Miksch sparked a 5-0 run by the Falcons that brought them back within one (18-19). The junior collected one kill and two aces during the run, while freshman Kathleen Medill and Heldt teamed up for a block and Ssozi recorded a solo stop. Heldt added two more kills, but Wyoming took the opening set by a 25-20 margin.
Conlan opened the second set with an ace and Air Force maintained an early advantage off of kills from Heineck, Miksch, Galloway and Medill. A block from Heineck and Ssozi broke an 8-all tie, but the Cowgirls rolled off the next five points to take a 13-9 lead. Miksch stopped the run with a kill, while Heineck helped the Falcons pull within two (16-18) with a kill and assisted block (Ssozi). Miksch collected a pair of scores in the final minutes, but the Cowgirls claimed the four-point victory (25-21).
Miksch posted the Falcons’ first offensive point of the third set, while Ssozi tallied a pair of kills to help Air Force erase a 4-2 deficit and tie the set at six. The Cowgirls scored six of the next eight points to take a four-point advantage (12-8), before Miksch sparked a 7-1 run by the Falcons to give Air Force its first lead of the set (16-14). The junior served up a pair of aces during the run, while Medill and Ssozi registered kills and Heineck and Heldt teamed up for block. Wyoming evened the set at 16-all and the squads traded the next six points, with Air Force retaking the lead off of scores off of kills from Heineck (17-16) and Ssozi (18-17). The Cowgirls strung together three points to take a 21-19 lead, but Miksch put down a pair of kills to keep the Falcons within one (20-21, 21-22). Heldt posted an additional kill (22-23), but Wyoming was able to claim the final two points to complete the sweep with a 25-22 win.
Air Force wraps up its four-match MW homestand on Saturday, Sept. 30, when it hosts 24th-ranked Colorado State at 1:00 p.m.