Sept. 8, 2009
The Air Force volleyball team continues its season-opening road trip this weekend (Sept. 11-12) as it travels to Conway, Ark., for the 2009 Sugar Bear Classic. The Falcons, who are 5-3 on the season, will face Louisiana Tech, Central Arkansas, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Louisiana Monroe during the two-day tournament at the Prince Center on the campus of Central Arkansas.
The history lesson is pretty short this week, as the Falcons have only faced two of the four teams a combined two times. Air Force is 1-0 all time against Louisiana Tech, after sweeping the Lady Techsters in 1998. Central Arkansas holds the 1-0 series advantage, having defeating Air Force in straight sets at the start of the 2006 season. Saturday will mark the Falcons' first meeting with both Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Louisiana Monroe.
OPPONENT QUICK HITS
Both of Air Force's opponents on Friday have winning records (Louisiana Tech/6-2, Central Arkansas/4-2), while both of Saturday's foes are below .500 (Arkansas-Pine Bluff/0-5, Louisiana Monroe/1-6).
FALCONS TAKE FIVE
With its victory over Southern Utah on Sept. 5, Air Force collected its fifth win of the season. In just eight matches, the Falcons have already matched their win total from all of last season (29 total matches).
OUT OF THE GATES
Air Force's 5-3 start to the 2009 season is its best eight-match opening since 2003. That year, the Falcons posted a record of 6-2 during their first eight matches. Air Force's best eight-match start to a season since joining Division I was in 1999, when the Falcons rolled to an early 7-1 record.
GETTING TO THE POINT
The Falcons have cleared the 20-point plateau during 22 of their 27 sets this season, not counting the 15-point fifth-set. Air Force, which has reached the winning 25-point mark on 13 occasions, has only missed that mark five times. Just eight matches into the season, the Falcons are almost halfway to last season's total of 49.
Caroline Kurtz and Maiya Perich currently lead the team in service aces, with 11 apiece. Grace Konstanzer is ranked second with seven, while three others (Jessica Hellmann, Michelle Harrington and Kelly Spencer) have each contributed three.
Air Force improved to 2-0 in five-set matches this season, after defeating Southern Utah in 19-25, 25-17, 25-23, 22-25, 15-8 fashion on Sept. 5. It is the third time in six years that Air Force has collected at least two five-set wins in a single season. The win was the Falcons' 14th five-set win in Division I history.
AIR FORCE SWEEPS DENVER IN TOURNAMENT OPENER
The Falcons made it an unhappy homecoming for Denver, sweeping the host Pioneers during the first match of the DU Invitational on Sept. 4. It is the first time since 2003 that Air Force has defeated Denver.
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT
Air Force defeated Denver with its strong attacking, as the squad collectively hit .345. Three Falcons hit over .300 on the day. Michelle Harrington connected at a .800 clip, connecting eight kills on 10 attempts, while committing no errors. Caroline Kurtz hit .429 (10k-1e-21a), while Emily Frick provided a spark off the bench at .312 (6k-1e-16a). In addition, Jessica Hellmann, who assisted on 29 of the Falcons' scores, was a perfect five-for-five in kills.
ON THE HORIZON
Air Force opens Mountain West Conference play at Utah (Sept. 17) and BYU (Sept. 19).