Oct. 12, 2009
The Air Force volleyball team wraps up the first half of the Mountain West Conference season on Friday, Oct. 16, when it heads to San Diego, Calif., to take on travel partner San Diego State. The first serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PST) at Peterson Gym. Friday's match marks just the second time this season that the Falcons have played just a single match during the week.
Match Notes 08: at San Diego State
SAN DIEGO STATE QUICK HITS
The Aztecs, under the direction of first-year head coach Dietre Collins-Parker, is 7-10 on the season and 2-5 in Mountain West Conference action. San Diego State is coming off of a five-set victory over Wyoming on Oct. 10. Sophomore setter Lauren Van Orden leads the conference with a 10.82 assists-per-set average, while freshman Kristi Jackels holds a 4.25 digs-per-set average to also lead the conference.
San Diego State holds a 24-1 all-time advantage over Air Force. The Falcons' only win in the series came in 1999, when Air Force defeated SDSU by a 3-1 margin. Air Force took a set from the Aztecs last year in San Diego. First-year coach Dietre Collins-Parker, who spent eight years as the head coach at UNLV (1996-03), holds a 14-2 mark over the Falcons.
Caroline Kurtz tallied her seventh double-double of the season on Oct. 10, collecting 15 kills and 14 digs against Colorado State. It is the Falcons' first double-double since she posted a 15 kill/10 dig output against Utah. Kurtz has seven of the Falcons' nine double-doubles on the year, while classmate Jessica Hellmann has the other two.
STEPPING UP TO THE COMPETITION
Air Force fought hard against league-leading Colorado State (5-0) on Oct. 10. In their best-ever Division I performance against the Rams, the Falcons fell by just 10 combined points over the three-set match, including a 26-24 score in the second set. Air Force out-killed Colorado State 44-32, while hitting five points better than the visitors.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES
After collecting just 22 kills against Wyoming on Oct. 8, the Falcons roared back to double that total (44) on against Colorado State on Oct. 10. In addition, the Falcons improved their hitting percentage from .011 to .149.
The Falcons started three freshmen against the Rams on Oct. 10. Grace Konstanzer was in the starting lineup for the 18th time in 19 matches, while Preslee Maki earned her second assignment in the starting rotation. And, for the first time since Aug. 28, Dani Griffith was selected as the starting setter. Konstanzer recorded 10 kills and eight digs, while Maki recorded three strikes and assisted on a team-high two blocks. Griffith added a pair of kills, while adding 10 assists.
THE 500 CLUB
Jessica Hellmann recorded her 500th assist of the season on Oct. 3 at New Mexico. She is just the 13th Air Force setter at the Division I level to record over 500 assists in a single season. She is only eight helpers shy of cracking the program's Division I top-10 list.
The Falcons have taken to singing Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" whenever Caroline Kurtz scores for Air Force and the team's vocal chords have been getting a workout this season. The junior, who leads the squad in kills and aces, is ranked in four of the seven Mountain West Conference per-game statistical categories. She is ranked fourth in aces (0.35), fifth in kills (3.20), sixth in points (3.67), and 10th in digs (2.68). In addition, her 15 kills against Canisius and Colorado State are tied for the second-best three-set output in the league, while her five aces against both Louisiana-Monroe and Utah are also tied for second.
LOOKING AT THE HORIZON
The Falcons will play their final non-conference match next week, when they host Northern Colorado on Oct. 21. Air Force will return to MWC action on Oct. 24, as it travels to UNLV.