Army Tops Air Force to Win All-Armed Forces Tournament
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. -- A seven-match winning streak over Army came to an end for the Air Force volleyball team tonight (Sept. 17), as the Black Knights defeated the Falcons in four games, during the final match of the All-Armed Forces Tournament at the Academy's Clune Arena. Air Force picked up the early 30-26 win in the first set, but the Black Knights rolled off straight 30-21, 30-23, 30-22 wins to take home the tournament title.
The loss marks the end to a streak of nine straight victories for Air Force over Army. The Black Knights only other win over the Falcons came in 1985, when Army pulled out a 3-2 win.
Although Army struck first in the first set, Air Force quickly rebounded to tie the game at five and again at eight, before taking the lead for the first and last time. Behind several long serving streaks from senior Rebecca Gallegos (Las Vegas, N.M.), the Falcons created a cushion for themselves. With the score 29-20, Air Force allowed six straight points, but held off the Black Knights for the 30-26 win.
Sophomore Brooke Akers (Desert Hot Springs, Calif.) opened the scoring in the second set with a kill. While the game stayed close through the opening points, Army began to pull away from the Falcons, backed by seven straight serves. Sophomore Kim Kallabis (Camino, Calif.) helped the Falcons climb within four, as she rolled off four straight serves. Army used several more drives to march for the 30-21 win.
Following the 10-minute break, the two teams traded points, until Army took the lead at 7-6. Air Force rallied to pull within three at 20-17, but Army continued on for the 30-23 win. Serving was the name of the game in the fourth set, as the teams traded opening points with an ace and an error. Once again, the set remained close throughout the first six points, but Army started to pull away at the 8-6 mark. An 11-2 run spelled the end for Air Force, as Army took the fourth and final game, 30-22.
Sophomore Elizabeth Arrington (Bend, Ore.) led the Falcons with 11 kills, while Akers and freshman Kristina Stewart (Glendale, Ariz.) each tallied 10. Senior Carly Siefken (Beaverton, Ore.) led Air Force in hitting for the third straight match, as she recorded a .316 percentage, based on six kills in 19 attempts with no errors. Siefken also added 39 assists and a team-best 15 digs. Gallegos led the squad with a pair of aces, while adding 12 digs of her own. In addition to her 10 kills, Akers posted three solo blocks and a pair of assisted stops.
With the win, Army won the second annual All-Armed Forces Tournament with a perfect 2-0 record. Navy, who also posted a 2-0 record, finished second based on the number of games won and lost: the Black Knights recorded a 6-1 game mark, while the Mids finished 6-2. Air Force finished third with a 1-2 mark, while The Citadel placed third (0-3). (Army and Navy did not face off in head-to-head competition this weekend since they both play in the Patriot League and will face off during conference action.)
Akers and Siefken were named to the all-tournament team for their efforts over the three-match stretch. Joining the duo was Navy's Jessie Sims and Beth McArthur, The Citadel's Stefanie Farris and Army's Eileen Cassidy. Cassidy's teammate, Elizabeth Lazzari, was named the tournament MVP.
Air Force returns to the usual confines of the Cadet East Gym on Thursday, Sept. 22, when it hosts South Dakota State. The Falcons continue at home on Friday-Saturday (Sept. 23-24), as they open Mountain West Conference play against Utah and BYU. Matches start at 7 p.m., on all three days.