Falcons Drop Hard-Fought Battle with Utah
Oct. 27, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - The Air Force volleyball team dropped a tough, hard-fought battle with Utah in Mountain West Conference action on Saturday, Oct. 27, in Salt Lake City. Book-ended by a pair of 30-18 matches, was a thrilling, yet heartbreaking, 30-28 loss in the middle set.
A service ace by senior Kim Kallabis gave the Falcons the first point of the night and a kill by sophomore Michelle Harrington and an error by Utah gave the Falcons an early 3-0 lead. Utah brought the score to within one, but junior Jasamine Pettie and sophomore Katie Batchelder added kills to return the Falcons' lead to three. The Utes took a 12-8 lead, but Air Force continued to tally points behind kills from Pettie and freshman Caroline Kurtz. Utah went on to take the set by a 30-18 score.
Batchelder put down the first point of the second set, before the Utes pulled out to a 7-2 lead. Freshman Jessica Hellmann used a fake set to earn a kill and pull the Falcons within two at 9-7. Air Force remained within two and finally pulled within one (16-15) off of a kill by Nichole Stilwell. Utah edged out to a three-point margin, but the Falcons crawled right back and tied the set at 19 with a block from Hellmann and sophomore Jocelyn Booker. The Utes retook the lead, but Air Force refused to go away. Down 26-22, the Falcons tallied back-to-back kills from junior Kristina Stewart to close the gap. Helped by a Stilwell kill, the Falcons held the Utes at 28 points, while tallying four straight points to tie the set. Unfortunately, Utah claimed the final two points to take the thrilling 30-28 victory.
Utah jumped out to an early 9-3 lead to start the third game, as the Falcons accounted for kills from Booker and Stewart in the opening minutes. Booker also teamed up for a block with Pettie as the Falcons tried to rally. Utah finally doubled up Air Force at 21-11, but Kurtz and Booker added kills. Following an Air Force timeout, Pettie, Batchelder and Kallabis all put down kills, but the Falcons fell 30-18.
Kurtz led the Falcons with seven kills, while Pettie tallied six. In addition, Stilwell and Booker accounted for five kills apiece. Stewart, who tallied four kills on 11 attempts with no errors, led the team with a .364 hitting percentage. Kallabis, who accounted for 21 assists, tallied one of the Falcons two aces (Booker accounted for the other). Senior Morgan Dolan led all participants on either side of the net with 15 digs. As a team, Air Force accounted for 12 assisted blocks, led by Pettie and Hellmann's three each.
The Falcons return to the Academy on Thursday-Friday (Nov. 1-2) for their final home matches of the season. Air Force will host UNLV on Thursday, before closing out the home stand against San Diego State on Friday.