FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Air Force volleyball team suffered a 3-0 loss to 20th-ranked Colorado State tonight (Oct. 26) in Fort Collins. The Falcons, which suffered their first three-set loss in nearly a month, fell in straight 19-25, 22-25, 15-25 sets to the Rams, which remained undefeated in conference action.
Junior Shanleigh Conlan led the team in assists (27), aces (three) and digs (seven), while sophomore Denise Ssozi tallied 11 of the team’s 32 kills on .333 hitting (11k-2e-27a). Senior Piper Heineck and junior Lauren Heldt rounded out the team’s stat leaders, as the pair each recorded a pair of assisted blocks.
Heineck tallied the Falcons’ first point on the night’s second play, but the Rams took an early 7-3 lead. Junior Abigail Miksch registered a service ace, as she helped Air Force pull within two at the 9-7 mark, but Colorado State responded with the next four points to take a six-point lead. Kills from Heineck and Heldt put the Falcons in double figures (10-15). Miksch and Ssozi each registered a pair of kills, while Heineck and Conlan collected service aces, but the Rams took the opening set 25-19.
Miksch put down a pair of scores to help Air Force score the first three points of the second set, before Colorado State came back to even the set at four. The squads traded the next six points, with a kill from Ssozi and an ace from junior Sarah Hellman accounting for tying scores. An attacking error by CSU gave Air Force a two-point lead (9-7) and forced Colorado State into a time out. Following a 10-all tie, the Rams scored five of the next six points to go up 15-11. Colorado State took a 22-15 lead, before Air Force rolled off four straight points, including a Conlan ace, Ssozi kill, Heineck/Heldt block, to pull within three. Another block by Heineck and Heldt put the Falcons at 20 points, but CSU took the set, 25-22.
Air Force struck first in the third set, as Conlan (ace), Ssozi (kill) and Heineck (kill) gave Air Force a 3-1 lead, but Colorado State responded with the next five points to go up by three (6-3). An ace from freshman Jordan Daniels (7-6) and a kill from Miksch (8-7) kept the Falcons within one, but the Rams scored seven of the next 10 points to go up by five (15-10). Ssozi (two) and freshman Kathleen Medill (one) added kills, but the Rams took the set by a 10-point margin (25-15).
The Falcons return to action tomorrow night (Oct. 27), when they face Wyoming at 6:30 p.m., inside the UniWyo Sports Complex.