Oct. 12, 2013
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Despite its best blocking output of the conference season, the Air Force volleyball team dropped a 3-1 match to San Diego State on Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Academy's Cadet East Gym. The Falcons fell in 22-25, 26-24, 25-27, 17-25 sets to the visiting Aztecs.
With two solo blocks, sophomore Raquel Rosas was one of three Falcons to record a solo stop against San Diego State, as senior Cami Richan and junior Hillary Keltner each tallied one. Overall, junior Ayesha Hein paced the Falcons with six assisted blocks, while Richan (one solo, three assisted) and Rosas (two solo, two assisted) each added four. Air Force received additional blocking assistance from Keltner (one solo, one assisted), sophomore Akokwe Clement (two assisted) and classmate Maggie Sherrill (two assisted) for 12 total blocks (four solo, 16 assisted).
Clement led the Falcons offensively, with 12 kills, while Richan and Sherrill each added 10. Keltner, who recorded one of the Falcons' two service aces, collected assists on 36 of the team's 42 kills to go over 2,100 helpers in her career. Sophomore Rebecca Bates, who served up the other ace, collected a team-leading 16 digs, while junior Emma Dridge nearly reached a double-digit dig tally with nine.
Three SDSU errors gave the Falcons a quick 3-1 lead, while a kill by Hein at the 4-3 mark accounted for Air Force's first offensive point. The Falcons maintained the lead behind kills from Richan, Clement and Sherrill, before San Diego State evened the set at 13. The two teams traded points, tying the score at every point from 13 to 21, before the Aztecs claimed four of the final five points for the 25-22 win.
A Hein/Sherrill block and a Keltner kill put the Falcons on the board in the second set (2-0), while an ace from Keltner, a kill from Richan and another Hein/Sherrill block helped Air Force double up the Aztecs at 6-3. San Diego State responded with three straight points and then the two squads traded serves, creating deadlocked marks at each of the next three scores. Air Force took a two-point advantage behind a kill from Rosas (12-10), while a strike by Richan extended the Falcons' lead to three (15-12). SDSU came back to tie the set at 17, before another back-and-forth series accounted for eight more ties to bring the set to 24-all. Air Force used another pair of errors by the Aztecs to secure the 26-24 win.
The two squads traded points in the third set, creating an advantage no larger than two points (6-4 Air Force, 8-6 Air Force). San Diego State evened the set at eight and they traded points with ties at every mark until 12. The Aztecs scored the next three points to go up 15-12 and extended their lead to four at the 19-15 mark, but Air Force came back again, using two kills from Sherrill and a pair of blocks from Hein and Richan to tie the set at 21. Clement evened the set at 22 and a Richan/Rosas block put Air Force up by one (23-22). SDSU scored the next two points, but Richan put down a kill that held the Aztecs at set point (24-all). An attacking error by San Diego State kept the set at point (25-all), but the Aztecs accounted for a kill and a block to take the 27-25 victory.
San Diego State struck first in the fourth, taking a fast 3-1 lead and extending it to 9-4, despite an ace from Bates and back-to-back scores from Clement (kill, assisted block with Hein). Kills from Sherrill and Rosas cut the Falcons' deficit to three (10-7), but SDSU responded to go ahead 16-10. The Falcons also climbed back to within three (17-14) behind kills from Clement and Keltner, but the Aztecs scored eight of the next 11 points to secure the match with a 25-17 win.
"We're incredibly close," head coach Matt McShane said. "Cami hit .348, Akokwe and Raquel hit great and we ended up blocking well. We have to learn how to make a couple plays at the end of games, but we are incredibly close to being an amazing team."
The Falcons head back out on the road next week for a pair of matches in California (Oct. 17 at San Jose State, Oct. 19 at Fresno State) and a make-up contest at Boise State (Oct. 20).