Nov. 7, 2013
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - The Air Force volleyball team dropped a 3-1 decision to conference newcomer Utah State on Thursday, Nov. 7, during the first-ever matchup between the two programs. Returning to the Academy after playing five of their last six matches on the road, the Falcons took the first set 25-22, before dropping the final three sets by 16-25, 18-25, 15-25 scores.
Sophomores Akokwe Clement and Maggie Sherrill paced Air Force with 14 kills apiece, while junior Hillary Keltner hit at a team-leading average of .385 (7k-2e-13a) and collected 42 assists. Classmate Emma Dridge accounted for the team's only service ace, while sophomore Rachael Bradley Powers led the squad with 11 digs. Sherrill and junior Ayesha Hein tied for the team lead in blocks, as each tallied a solo stop.
The two squads opened the match trading points, with Hein (two), Clement (three), Hein (four) and Sherrill (five) accounting for the tying scores. An error by the Aggies on the point following Sherrill's kill gave Air Force its first lead (6-5). The Falcons improved their advantage to two by another kill from Sherrill and kept that lead behind scores from Richan (10-8) and Clement (11-9). Utah State evened the score at 12, but Keltner recorded her first kill to give the lead back to Air Force. The two teams traded scores again, before matching marks at 18. Clement put down a score to spark a 6-1 run by the Falcons that included kills from Keltner and Sherrill (two), as Air Force reached set-point at 24-19. Utah State scored three straight points, but Keltner put down the final kill to secure the Falcons' 25-22 win.
Utah State struck early and often in the remaining three sets, taking early leads of 13-7, 14-8 and 14-5. Sophomore Taylor Parker had a strong second set, accounting for four total kills, including two of the Falcons' first three offensive points. Air Force made late rallies during each set, but Utah State completed the sweep to take the first-ever match between the two programs.
Air Force returns to action on Saturday (Nov. 9), when it hosts Boise State at 6 p.m.