Air Force Falls in Heartbreaker to San Diego State
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. -- Despite four Falcons posting double-digit kill totals and having a strong statistical night, the Air Force volleyball team lost a tough four-game heartbreaker to visiting San Diego State on Friday, Nov. 12. After dropping the first set 30-23, the Falcons took the Aztecs to extra-points in the second game, before falling 32-30. Air Force won the third game, 30-23, but fell in a disappointing 30-28 fourth set.
Junior Kristin Hamlett (Escondido, Calif.) opened up the game with a kill. The two teams traded points until three straight service aces by SDSU put the Falcons down. The Falcons were able to pull within four at several points, but several long serving sets by the Aztecs was too much for the Falcons to overcome, as they fell 30-23.
Air Force jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the second set, backed by a service ace from freshman setter Kimberly Kallabis (Camino, Calif.), but San Diego State evened things up and marched out to a five-point lead. The Falcons matched the score at 12 and took their own lead and the set continued as such, with both teams collecting the lead on several occasions. The programs went point-for-point from 26-30, until a pair of SDSU kills was able to put the game away at 30-32.
Due to a pair of red cards issued to the SDSU coaching staff following the second game, the Falcons started the third set up 2-0. The teams played it close over the opening points, until Air Force was able to hold the Aztecs at nine, while scoring five of their own, to take a 15-9 lead. The Falcons, who pulled out to a 10-point lead at 29-19, went on to claim the set 30-23 off of a kill from Hamlett.
The Falcons got down early in the fourth game and trailed by as many as nine, before coming back to tie the game at 23-all off of a kill by Lindsey Bengard (St. Louis, Mo.). The teams tied the game at every point until San Diego State was able to clinch the final two points and the 30-28 win.
Despite the loss, it was a statistically good night for the Blue and Silver. Senior Lamecca Jefferson (Beeville, Texas) led all scorers with 21 kills -- matching the team's best output of the season. Bengard, who had a season-total of 17 kills, exploded for 16 kills (in addition, she added a service ace, five digs and assisted on a block). Hamlett and Molly White (Lafayette, La.) tallied respective totals of 13 and 12. Bengard also posted the best hitting percentage on the team at .458 (16 kills on 24 attacks and just five errors).
Sophomore Brittany Oligney (Katy, Texas) hit three service aces -- all of which came during a span of six straight serves in the first game -- to lead the team, while Rebecca Gallegos (Las Vegas, N.M.) added a pair of aces. Gallegos and Jenalee Burke (Bakersfield, Calif.) recorded dig totals of 13 and 10, respectively, to lead the team and tie with a pair of SDSU players for the best totals of the match. In addition to collecting her first career service ace, Kallabis recorded 57 assists -- the second best output of the season by Air Force (just one shy of the season-high 58).
The Falcons wrap up the regular season tomorrow night (Saturday, Nov. 13), when they host UNLV in the Cadet East Gym at 7 p.m. Prior to the match, Air Force will honor its three seniors -- Burke, Jefferson and White.