The Air Force volleyball team wraps up a run of four-straight road matches this week, as it heads north on I-25 for a pair of back-to-back Mountain West contests against its conference-leading Front Range foes. The Falcons will face 24th-ranked Colorado State on Thursday, Oct. 26, in Fort Collins, before heading to Laramie to play Wyoming on Friday, Oct. 27.
FOLLOW ALONG FROM HOME
Live video and stats will be available for both of this week's contests. Direct links are available on the schedule page at GoAirForceFalcons.com.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Air Force's two opponents will face each other in Fort Collins on Tuesday, before hosting the Falcons later in the week. Colorado State, ranked 20th in the latest AVCA Poll, is 20-2 on the season and undefeated in conference play (10-0) after sweeping UNLV and coming back from a 0-2 deficit to defeat New Mexico in five. After splitting last week's action with a 3-1 victory over New Mexico and a 3-2 loss to UNLV, Wyoming is 12-10 overall and currently ranked second in the conference with a 7-3 record. The Rams lead the conference in hitting (.309), opponent hitting (.167), assists (13.12) and blocks (2.90), while the Cowgirls are ranked second in hitting (.227), opponent hitting (.175) and blocks (2.78) Individually, Colorado State's Paula Hougaard-Jensen and Kirstie Hillyer are ranked one-two in the conference in hitting (Hougaard-Jensen: .438; Hillyer: .355) and blocking (Hillyer: 1.47; Hougaard-Jensen: 1.32), while Katie Oleksak leads the league with 11.86 assists per set. Wyoming also has a pair of blockers ranked in the Mountain West's top 10, as Reed Copeland is fourth (1.29) and Jackie McBride is seventh (1.18).
SERIES HISTORY | LAST TIME OUT
Air Force is 6-38 all-time against Wyoming and 1-47 in its lifetime series with Colorado State. The Falcons last defeated the Cowgirls in Laramie during the 2003 season, while the squad's only victory over the Rams came at a neutral-site location during the first-ever meeting between the two schools (1982). Earlier this season, Air Force was swept by Wyoming (20-25, 21-24, 22-25) and Colorado State (21-25, 19-25, 19-25) at the Academy.
AIR FORCE IN THE CONFERENCE RANKINGS
After five weeks of Mountain West play, Abigail Miksch and Piper Heineck are ranked among the league's top-two in three stat categories. Miksch is ranked second in kills (3.97) and points (5.48), while Heineck holds that same placement in hitting (.339). In addition, the team is ranked fifth in blocks (2.37) and Shanleigh Conlan is listed 10th in assists with a 5.94 per-set average. For the overall season, Heineck is ranked eighth in hitting (.300), aces (0.29) and blocks (1.18), while Denise Ssozi and Miksch are ranked seventh (3.33) and 10th (3.27), respectively, in kills.
MIKSCH TALLIES SECOND 23-KILL PERFORMANCE
Abigail Miksch collected the fifth 20-kill match of her career on Oct. 21, as she recorded a match-high 23 scores against Nevada. Miksch, who equaled her career-high with that performance, is just the sixth Division I Falcon to collect at least five 20-kill matches in a career. The junior has now collected at least 20 kills in matches against Nevada (23 in 2017), Jacksonville State (23 in 2016), Colgate (22 in 2016), Grand Canyon (22 in 2016) and Fresno State (20 in 2016).
WHAT'S ON DECK
Air Force will host the final two-match weekend of its home schedule next week, when it returns to the Academy to take on Fresno State on Friday, Nov. 3, and San Diego State on Sunday, Nov. 5.