Falcons Fall in First Match of Morehead State Invitational
MOREHEAD, Ky. -- The Air Force volleyball team dropped straight sets to Central Arkansas during the first match of the Morehead State/Comfort Inn Invitational on Friday (Sept. 8) in Morehead, Ky. After a close 30-27 loss in the first game, the Falcons dropped the final two matches by 30-14 and 30-17 scores.
The first game was evenly matched, as the two teams traded points. Central Arkansas claimed the first point, but junior Rebecca Gerton quickly responded with a block for the Falcons. Freshman Katie Batchelder claimed the next three Air Force points, giving the Falcons a 4-3 lead. UCA responded and pulled out to an 8-5 lead, but an ace by junior Kim Kallabis pulled it within one at 9-8. Sophomore Kristina Stewart (10-9) and Gerton (11-10) kept the Falcons within one. The Sugar Bears put together five straight points, but freshman Michelle Harrington posted a kill and assisted on a block with classmate Hannah Sorber to stop the streak. The Falcons continued to close the gap and a kill by freshman Jocelyn Booker tied the set at 21. Freshman Jaclyn Fleming's ace gave Air Force its first lead since early on. Stewart added a pair of aces, but the Falcons fell just three points shy of the Sugar Bears (30-27).
While the Falcons hit .243 in the first match, it was attacking that was the Falcons' undoing in the second set, as they connected on just four of 38 attempts. Central Arkansas jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but a kill by Batchelder and a trio of errors by the Sugar Bears knotted the game at four. However, UCA embarked on another four-point run, effectively putting game away. Stewart put down an ace and a trio of freshmen -- Booker, Batchelder and Danielle Mittelstadt -- added kills, but Air Force dropped the second set by a 30-14 margin.
Batchelder and Booker teamed up for a block to open the scoring of the third set, but Central Arkansas took the early 8-3 lead. Senior Tara Dunn earned a kill, while Harrington brought the Falcons to within three. Air Force added several more kills, but Central Arkansas won the third game by a 30-17 score.
Batchelder led the Falcons with eight kills and seven digs. Gerton accumulated seven kills, while Booker, Stewart and Harrington added in four apiece. Kallabis and Sorber split time at the setter's position, tallying totals of 11 and 10, respectively. Earning the squad's only solo block, Harrington also recorded the Falcons' best hitting percentage, connecting on four of eight, while posting just one error (.375).
The Falcons continue action at the Morehead State/Comfort Inn Invitational tomorrow (Sept. 9) when they face Western Carolina (10 a.m.) and host school Morehead State (7:30 p.m.) at Weatherby Gym in Morehead, Ky.