Attacking Errors Doom Falcons in 3-0 Loss to UNLV
Oct. 24, 2009
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Despite juniors Caroline Kurtz and Nichole Stilwell combining for 22 kills, the Air Force volleyball team suffered an error-plagued straight set loss to UNLV on Saturday, Oct. 24, in Las Vegas, Nev. After falling 25-11 in the first set, the Falcons closed the Rebels' margin of victory with 25-22 and 25-20 losses in the final two sets.
Stilwell tallied the first point of the set and then teamed up with freshman Preslee Maki for a block. UNLV rolled off the next 15 points to take a 16-2 advantage at the midway mark. Junior Julia Hansen and senior Michelle Harrington combined for three kills over the next five points (18-5). Stilwell and Kurtz each added a pair of kills, while freshman Grace Konstanzer added one to put the Falcons at the 10-point mark. Air Force recorded another block, but UNLV took the set by a 25-11 margin.
Air Force took the early 7-3 advantage in the second set behind kills from Harrington, Kurtz, Hansen and Konstanzer, as well as a service ace from Kurtz. Stilwell's kill at the 8-4 mark, doubled up the Rebels. The Falcons maintained their lead, as another ace from Kurtz boosted their lead to 14-9. UNLV went on a 6-1 run to tie the set at 15. The Rebels took the lead at the 18-17 mark, Air Force tied things up at 19 and again at 20, but despite another pair of kills from Kurtz and Stilwell, UNLV took the second set by a 25-22 margin.
The third set opened with the Falcons at an 8-4 disadvantage, despite kills from Stilwell, Kurtz and freshman Dani Griffith. Junior Jessica Hellmann and Stilwell posted a pair of back-to-back kills to help Air Force pull within two at 9-7, but UNLV maintained its lead. Following a timeout, the Falcons scored five of the next six points, which included kills from Konstanzer, Stilwell and Kurtz, to cut their deficit to one at 19-18. Kurtz added two more kills, but the Rebels went on to win the final set by a 25-20 margin.
Hitting efficiency was the difference in the match, as Air Force amassed 27 attacking errors to the Rebels' 10. UNLV, which also out-blocked the Falcons 10-3, hit .326 (39k-10e-89a) on the day, while the Falcons accounted for a pace of .097 (37k-27e-103a).
With 11 kills apiece, Kurtz and Stilwell paced the Falcons. The duo combined for 22 of the team's 27 kills. Stilwell had no problem finding the floor on the opponents side of the net, as she hit at a match-best .625 clip. The junior connected on 11 or 16 attempts, while committing just a single error. In addition to her 11 kills, Kurtz also tallied both of the Falcons' service aces.
Hellmann accounted for 20 assists, while Griffith added 12. Junior Kelly Spencer posted a team-high 10 digs and freshman Maiya Perich added eight, while Harrington paced the Falcons with a pair of assisted blocks.
The Falcons return to the Academy on Thursday, Oct. 29, when they host conference foe New Mexico.