RENO, Nev. – Despite a career-high 23 kills from junior Abigail Miksch, the Air Force volleyball team dropped a 3-1 decision to Nevada on Saturday (Oct. 21) afternoon in Reno. The Falcons fell to 3-7 in conference play (10-14 overall) after the 15-25, 24-26, 25-23, 19-25 loss to the host Wolf Pack.
Miksch collected the fifth 20-kill match of her career, as she recorded a 23 kills on 45 attempts, with just seven errors, for a team-leading .356 average. The junior was one of two Falcons to post double-digit kill totals, as sophomore Denise Ssozi tallied 11. Ssozi added 11 digs to her stat line for the fourth double-double of her career, while junior Shanleigh Conlan registered her eighth double-double behind a team-high 26 assists and 13 digs. Senior Piper Heineck added five blocks (one solo, four assisted), while junior Sarah Hellman, freshman Kathleen Medill and Ssozi each tallied a service ace.
Ssozi tallied the Falcons’ first two points, recording a kill and service ace to give Air Force the early 2-1 lead. After Nevada registered the next three points, junior Lauran Heldt and Miksch put down kills to even the score at four. Miksch added another pair of scores, as she notched a kill and assisted on a block with Medill, to give Air Force an 8-6 advantage, but Nevada scored 12 of the next 15 points to go ahead by an 18-11 margin. Miksch added one more kill, but the Wolf Pack won the opening set 25-15.
The two squads traded the first six points of the second set, with kills from Heineck, Miksch and freshman Cambria Galloway keeping Air Force tied at three. Heineck added a pair of blocks (one solo, one assisted with Galloway) during a 5-0 run that gave Air Force an 8-4 lead. Miksch (three), Heineck and Ssozi added kills, but Nevada tied the set at 13. Three errors by the Wolf Pack and an ace from Hellman gave the Falcons a 17-14 lead, but Nevada followed with a 6-3 run to tie the set at 20. A pair of blocks from Medill (one solo, one assisted with Galloway) put the Falcons at set point (24-22), but Nevada scored the final four points for the 26-24 victory.
Miksch (two kills) and Medill (one kill, one ace) provided the opening points for Air Force, as the teams traded points to an early tie at five-all. Nevada scored the next four points to go up 9-5, but the Falcons pulled within one (8-9) behind from Galloway and Ssozi. Miksch scored four of the Falcons’ next five points, as the squads swapped the next 13 scores. A kill from Heineck and a solo stop from Ssozi tied the set at 16, while a Miksch kill and a Heldt/Heineck block gave Air Force a 19-17 advantage. The Falcons pushed their lead to 22-19, but Nevada scored the next four points to go up by one (23-22). Air Force scored on the ensuing play, while a kill from Ssozi gave Air Force the 25-23 win.
Kills from Heineck, Heldt and Miksch opened the fourth set for Air Force, as the two squads continued to trade points. Galloway and Heineck teamed up for a block that evened the score at six, while Miksch put down a score to tie the set at eight. Medill scored the Falcons’ next three points, while a solo block from Ssozi – her second of the day – knotted the score at 12. Following ties at 13 (Heineck kill) and 14 (Ssozi kill), the Falcons took a 15-14 advantage off of a solo block from Miksch. After the Wolf Pack retook the lead two plays later, Miksch put down another pair of kills to tie the set (16-16, 17-17). Medill added one more score, but Nevada scored eight of the final 10 points for the 25-19 victory.
Air Force remains on the road next week, when they travel up Interstate-25 for back-to-back contests with Colorado State (Oct. 26) and Wyoming (Oct. 27).