The Air Force volleyball team opens the 2014 season this weekend, as it hosts the Falcon Classic, in honor of Amy Svoboda, at the Cadet East Gym. The three-day tournament, which begins on Friday (Aug. 29) features visiting teams from California, Rutgers, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Winthrop. The Falcons open tournament play at 6:00 p.m., when they face Winthrop for the first time since 2000.
ABOUT AMY SVOBODA
Amy Svoboda was a 1989 graduate of the Academy and four-year letterwinner on the Air Force volleyball team, who was killed during an A-10 training accident in 1997. Svoboda, who earned MVP honors during her senior season with the Falcons, was one of the first 14 female fighter pilots in the Air Force and one of the first six to fly the A-10.
Aug. 29 Cal vs SIUE - 9:00 a.m. Aug. 29 Winthrop vs Rutgers - 11:00 a.m. Aug. 29 Air Force vs Winthrop - 6:00 p.m. Aug. 29 Rutgers vs SUIE - 8:00 p.m. Aug. 30 SIUE vs Winthrop - 10:00 a.m. Aug. 30 Air Force vs Rutgers - 12:00 p.m. Aug. 30 Winthrop vs Cal - 5:00 p.m. Aug. 30 Air Force vs SIUE - 7:00 p.m. Aug. 31 Air Force vs Cal - 1:00 p.m.
FOLLOW ALONG FROM HOME
All Air Force matches will have live video and live stats via GoAirForceFalcons.com, while live stats will be available for all other matches.
Due to increased traffic on base due to Parents' Weekend, fans are encouraged to arrive early for all matches of this weekend's Falcon Classic. Both levels of East Lot will be available for parking, as well as the reservoir lot to the east of the Field House. On Saturday, due to the Air Force football game at noon, fans must enter the Academy through the North Gate and remain in the far right lane, as all other lanes will feed toward the football stadium.
HELLO MOTHER, HELLO FATHER
This weekend's Falcon Classic will mark the first time that Air Force will be at the Academy over Parents' Weekend since the 2008 season.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Winthrop, who will face Rutgers prior to the Falcons' season-opening match, finished the 2013 season with a 17-13 slate, while California also concluded last year with an above-500 slate of 18-13. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville was 14-18 in competition last season, while Rutgers, who is beginning its first season as a member of the Big Ten Conference, went 5-27 in 2013.
Having only faced this weekend's opponents a total of five times in the program's 38-year history, Air Force brings an unfamiliar lineup to the Falcon Classic. SIUE is the Falcons' most recent opponent, as Air Force lost a 3-0 decision to the Cougars during their only meeting in 2008. Air Force, who hasn't faced Winthrop since 2000 (2-0 all-time), has never faced Rutgers in Division I competition, as the last contest between the Falcons and Scarlet Knights was in 1983 (0-2 all-time). Cal is one of three first-time opponents for Air Force.
AIR FORCE IN SEASON OPENERS
The Falcons hold a 21-17 all-time record during the first match of a new year, while head coach Matt McShane is 1-3 overall in openers and 1-0 in season debuts held at the Academy.
RECORD BOOK WATCH
Hillary Keltner enters the 2014 season listed on the program's Division I lists for career assists (second, 2762) and digs (10th, 646). In addition, her career assist total is ranked sixth on the Academy's all-time list.
LEADING THE WAY
Victoria Foster, Hillary Keltner and Maggie Sherrill were selected as captains for the 2014 season. It is just the second time in program history that three Falcons have held been named team captains. Keltner, who also held the captaincy last season, is the seventh player in Air Force history to hold that title in back-to-back years.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
The Falcons added five freshmen to their 2014 roster with the addition of Piper Heineck, Erin Hoppe, Peyton Moyles, Natalie Seitz and Shelley Spires. The recruiting class, backed by a `Defensive Dandies' nod for Seitz, earned High Honorable Mention from PrepVolleyball.com.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Falcons will play 17 matches within the friendly confines of Falcon Court at Cadet East Gym during the 2014 season. Following the two season-opening tournaments, Air Force will host non-conference foe Denver on Sept. 16, before beginning the home slate of Mountain West matches during the first weekend of October.
FALCONS EARN PROGRAM'S HIGHEST PRESEASON RANKING
Air Force earned its highest preseason conference ranking in program history this year, as the Mountain West coaches picked the Falcons ninth in the 11-team league (31 points). It is just the second time in program history that the Falcons have not been picked to finish last in the conference, as last year's team was picked 10th.
ON THE SIDELINES
Matt McShane returns to the sideline for his fifth season with the Falcons' volleyball squad. This year, he is joined on the bench by AJ Joseph (first season) and Marc Swindle (fifth season).
MEDIA GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE
The 2014 Air Force Volleyball Media Guide is now available online at GoAirForceFalcons.com.
FALCONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The volleyball team is on Facebook and Twitter. Visit facebook.com/afvolleyball or twitter.com/usafavb and become a fan today to receive up-to-date and behind-the-scenes information on the Air Force volleyball program.
WHAT'S ON DECK
The Falcons remain at the Academy next weekend (Sept. 5-6), as they host Houston Baptist, Marist and Weber State in the Air Force Invitational.