Volleyball Opens Season at Pioneer Classic

    Maggie Sherrill

    Maggie Sherrill

    Aug 27, 2013

    The Air Force volleyball team begins its 38th season of competition this weekend, as it travels to Denver for the Pioneer Classic on Friday and Saturday (Aug. 30-31). The Falcons open the 2013 campaign against Denver, UC Irvine and Texas A&M Corpus Christi at Hamilton Gymnasium.

    Match Notes 01: at Pioneer Classic Get Acrobat Reader

    The Pioneer Classic will be held Aug. 30-31 at Hamilton Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Denver. Live stats will be available for all matches at denverpioneers.com, while the Falcons' season-opening match with host Denver will be streamed live on Pioneer Vision (fees will apply).

    FRIDAY, AUG 30
    4:00 p.m.: UC Irvine vs Texas A&M Corpus Christi
    7:00 p.m.: Air Force vs Denver

    10:00 a.m.: Air Force vs UC Irvine
    12:00 p.m.: Texas A&M Corpus Christi vs Denver
    5:00 p.m.: Air Force vs Texas A&M Corpus Christi
    7:30 p.m.: Denver vs UC Irvine

    It is the opening weekend for all four teams at the Pioneer Classic. Two of the programs - Denver (17-13) and Texas A&M Corpus Christi (21-11) - finished the 2012 season with winning records, while UC Irvine compiled an 11-22 record last year. Although Air Force has a long history with Denver, holding a 35-10 lead in the all-time series, it has only faced the remaining two opponents on one occasion each. The Falcons defeated Texas A&M Corpus Christi 3-1 during its only meeting in 2008 and swept UC Irvine 3-0 during the 2002 campaign.

    The Falcons hold a 21-16 all-time record during the first match of a new season, while head coach Matt McShane is 1-2 in season openers at Air Force. It is the second straight year that the Falcons have opened the season with a true road contest.

    The season may just be starting, but it's never too early to check the record book. Four Falcons - Hillary Keltner, Josalynn Wise, Cami Richan and Ayesha Hein - enter the year listed in the top-10 of the program's Division I career list. Keltner and Wise are ranked fifth (1551) and ninth (622), respectively, on the assist list, while Richan is ranked 10th in kills (683) and Hein is listed eighth in assisted blocks (110) and 10th in total blocks (124).

    Five of the Falcons' 2013 opponents were listed on the AVCA Division I Preseason Coaches' Poll, including #3 Stanford, who earned two first-place votes. Long Beach State and St. Mary's were listed among Others Receiving Votes, as were conference opponents Colorado State and San Diego State. Air Force will also face three reigning conference champions - Stanford (Pac-12), Yale (Ivy), Utah Valley (Great West) - during the non-conference season, before taking on the 2012 Mountain West co-champions (Colorado State and San Diego State) twice.

    With nine of 11 first-place votes in the Mountain West Preseason Coaches' Poll, San Diego State was picked to win the conference in 2013. The Aztecs tallied 99 total points to edge Colorado State (90 points), who received the remaining two first-place votes. Just five points separated third through sixth in the preseason poll, as UNLV (70), Utah State (68), New Mexico (66) and Fresno State (65) claimed those positions. Boise State was picked seventh with 51 points, while Wyoming (37), San Jose State (27) and Air Force (17) rounded out the top 10. Nevada completed the conference rankings with 15 points.

    Ayesha Hein and Hillary Keltner were named captains of the 2013 squad, marking the first time since 2006 that juniors have held the captaincy outright.

    Air Force added three freshmen to its roster in Savannah Banyai, Collette Foster and Lauren Ossolinski. While it may be the smallest recruiting class of head coach Matt McShane's tenure, it is a talented trio of freshmen that brought stellar credentials at both the prep and club levels to the Falcons' roster.

    Matt McShane returns for his fourth season as the head coach of the Falcons' volleyball program. During his first three seasons at the helm, McShane (16-73 overall) led Air Force to its first conference win in five years (San Diego State, 2010) and its first conference road win in nine years (at Nevada, 2012). He is joined by assistant coaches Louella Maxwell and Marc Swindle, as well as volunteer coach AJ Joseph.

    The Falcons make the first of three trips to California next week, when they travel to San Francisco for the Bay Area Challenge. Air Force will take on Long Beach State, San Francisco and St. Mary's over the Sept. 6-7 weekend.



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