Volleyball Remains Winless in Conference
USAFA, Colo. -- The Falcons faced two nationally-ranked teams this weekend, losing to BYU and Utah on the road to remain winless in the Mountain West.
In the first match of the weekend, the Falcons faced No. 17 BYU, losing 3-0 (15-5, 15-1, 15-1). The Cougars dominated from the outset, as the imposing Cougar front line held the Falcons to a -.134 team hitting percentage. BYU junior middle blocker Nina Puikkonen tallied 12 kills in the match to lead a BYU offense that registered a .404 hitting percentage on the night.
Air Force freshman outside hitter Delavane Diaz, the conference leader in kills per game (4.26) coming into the match, had just seven kills to lead the Falcon offense. The team totaled just 12 digs in the three games.
"We just didn't show up against BYU," said head coach Penny Lucas-White. "I think our younger players were a bit intimidated by their size."
Although the result was the same against No. 15 Utah, the Falcons played much better. Despite losing 3-0 (15-7, 15-7, 15-9), the Falcons were more competitive. The team's hitting percentage improved by 138 percentage points and the team was able to score more points.
Diaz recorded her seventh double-double, finishing the match with 11 kills and 12 digs. Freshman Brandi Raifsnider had her first career double, posting 10 digs on the night. Kristin Huitt and Abby Martinson split time at the setter position, combining for 30 assists.
"I was very pleased with the way the team fought against Utah," Lucas-White said. "They fought the entire match. They never let down, and thats where it starts."
Junior Alisa Geddes led the Utes with 13 kills, 12 digs and three total blocks. Sophomore Brenda Beal posted 10 kills for a .467 hitting percentage in two games, while freshman Kim Turner had eight kills for a .615 hitting percentage and three total blocks.
The Falcons (6-12, 0-7 MWC) will look to snap their seven-match losing streak Tuesday (Oct. 17), when the team travels to Denver to take on the Pioneers.
"Against Utah, our team played as well as I have seen them play since pre-conference," Lucas-White said. "We are turning things around, and I am excited about what's going to happen. This season isn't over. Our younger players know what to expect now, and I look forward to getting some wins."