Air Force Holds Off Undefeated Butler, 3-1
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. -- Backed by 22 kills from senior Kristin Hamlett (Escondido, Calif.), the Air Force volleyball team defeated previously undefeated Butler, 3-1, in the nightcap of pool play for the Falcon Invitational at the Academy. After dropping the first game 30-22, the Falcons rolled to 30-25, 30-28 and 31-29 win.
Hamlett, who led all scorers with 22 kills, was one of four Falcons to register double-digit kill tallies. Sophomore Brooke Akers (Desert Hot Springs, Calif.) put down 15, while freshman Kristina Stewart (Glendale, Ariz.) and sophomore Elizabeth Arrington (Bend, Ore.) registered marks of 11 and 10, respectively.
Air Force opened the match with the first two points, but Butler quickly tied the score and raced away with the lead. Although the Falcons attempted to stay close, several runs by the Bulldogs put the game away.
A kill by Arrington opened the second game and the Falcons once again took a quick 2-0 lead. This time, the game was extremely close as neither team was willing to give up a large run. Air Force finally gained a three-point advantage at the 20-17 mark. Butler tied it again at 23, but Air Force allowed just two more points while claiming the deciding five.
A 10-2 run put the Falcons up early in the third set, but again Butler refused go quietly. Despite being down, the Bulldogs pulled the margin to one at 19-18 and took the lead at 22-21. The two teams traded points until the score was deadlocked at 28. An attacking error and an Arrington kill secured the win for the Falcons.
Like the first three sets, Air Force earned the opening point. The score remained close as Air Force and Butler traded points. After a 9-9 tie, Air Force started to pull away, holding a late five-point lead. Up 29-25 and just one point shy of the victory, the Falcons posted four straight attacking errors that led to Butler tying the score at 29. Another Arrington kill and an error by the Bulldogs secured the hard-fought 31-29 game win for the Falcons.
With the win, Air Force moves to 2-3 on the short season. In addition to the four Falcons in double-figure kills, Air Force also boasted five with at least 10 digs. Hamlett led the way with 18, while senior setter Carly Siefken (Beaverton, Ore.) claimed 17, contributing to her second double-double (also 48 assists) of the day. Stewart collected 12, while senior Rebecca Gallegos (Las Vegas, N.M.) and sophomore Kim Kallabis (Camino, Calif.) each recorded 10.
Siefken and Kallabis each earned a trio of aces, en route to the team's nine total aces.
The Falcons return to action tomorrow for the conclusion of the 2005 Falcon Invitational. Air Force will face San Jose State (who went 1-1 this afternoon at the Cadet East Gym) tomorrow (Sept. 3) at 5 p.m. With all three teams in the Falcons' pool posting 1-1 marks, Butler will face No. 10 Wisconsin at 1 p.m., in the championship match, while Southeast Missouri State and Weber State will face off at 3 p.m. All matches will be played at Clune Arena. Live stats will be available on AirForceSports.com.