Nov. 13, 2010
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Air Force senior Jessica Hellmann became just the third player in Division I history to tally over 2,000 assists in a career, as the Air Force volleyball team played a four-set match with BYU at the Academy on Saturday, Nov. 13. Facing the Cougars for the final time in Mountain West Conference action, Air Force fell in 20-25, 13-25, 25-20, 22-25 scores.
The Falcons' 25-20 victory in the third set was the program's first "game" win over the Cougars since the first meeting during the 2005 season - a span of 10 matches.
Hellmann tallied 45 assists - her second-highest total of the season - to surpass the 2000-assist mark. The senior had a stellar day, as she added four kills, a .667 hitting percentage (4k-0e-6a), a pair of service aces and two assisted blocks to her stat line.
Senior Caroline Kurtz led all players with 18 kills, while freshman Annalyse Schmitt added 13. Senior Nichole Stilwell and freshman Cami Richan added seven apiece, as the team combined for 51 total kills. That total is the second-best team performance of the conference season. Richan, who connected on seven of 16 attempts, while committing just four errors, posted a hitting percentage of .188 - the best average by a player with at least 10 attempts.
Defensively, the Falcons combined for one solo block and 12 assisted stops - their best blocking performance of the conference season. Senior Julia Hansen led the way with five total stops (one solo, four assisted blocks). Hellmann, Stilwell and Kurtz each added a pair of assisted stops. Sophomore Maiya Perich paced the Falcons - and tied for the match lead - with 13 digs, while senior Kelly Spencer added 12.
The Falcons also matched their best ace production of the conference season, combining for six total service aces. In addition to Hellmann's pair of aces, Spencer, Schmitt, Kurtz and Perich each accounted for one.
BYU took the first two points, before a kill by Schmitt helped tie the set at two. The Cougars advanced the score to 8-4, but Air Force quickly evened the score at 10. Kurtz put down an ace, while Richan, Schmitt and Stilwell added kills during the Falcons' run. Hellmann put down a kill, while Perich added an ace to keep the score tied at 13, but BYU scored the next six points to take a 19-13 lead. Richan, Schmitt and Stilwell put down kills and Spencer added an ace, but the Cougars took the set by a 25-20 margin.
The Cougars scored the first five points of the second set, as Air Force found itself in a 7-1 hole. Kurtz collected four kills in the set, while Richan added a pair. Schmitt also put down a kill and Hellmann added a kill and an ace, but Air Force fell in a quick 25-14 set.
A kill by Schmitt helped the Falcons score the first two points of the third set. Kills by Hellmann and Kurtz helped Air Force increase its lead to 5-3, but BYU matched the set at five and eventually took a 9-7 lead. Schmitt scored three of the Falcons' next four points, as Air Force tied the set at 11. Kurtz added back-to-back kills, while a kill from Stilwell put the Falcons up 14-11 and forced the Cougars to call a timeout. Air Force maintained its lead behind kills from Stilwell and Hansen, while Hellmann added an ace. Holding a 20-15 lead, Air Force used two kills from Richan, as well as single strikes from Kurtz, Schmitt and Hellmann, to defeat the Cougars 25-20.
Three kills from Kurtz, and one from Stilwell, helped Air Force jump out to a 5-1 run to start the fourth set. The Falcons continued to lead (13-9), thanks to kills from Kurtz, Schmitt and Stilwell, as well as Hansen's solo block. The Cougars scored the next five points to go ahead 14-13. Kurtz stopped their scoring streak to tie the game at 14, while Hansen kept the score even at 16. BYU tallied five of the next six points to go up 21-17, but Schmitt's kill and ace, as well as Stilwell and Hellmann's block, brought the Falcons back within one at 22-21. Kurtz added one more kill, but BYU claimed the final set by a 25-22 margin.
Air Force closes out the road portion of its schedule next Saturday (Nov. 20), when they travel to San Diego, Calif., to take on San Diego State at 1 p.m. (PST).