Air Force Travels to Albuquerque for Mountain West Volleyball Tournament

    Kristen Holt

    Kristen Holt

    Nov. 15, 2011

    The Air Force volleyball team travels to Albuquerque, N.M., this weekend (Nov. 18-20) for the 2011 Mountain West Volleyball Tournament. The Falcons, ranked eighth in the conference, open the tournament against top-seeded Colorado State at 6 p.m. (MST) on Friday, Nov. 18, at Johnson Gym. The match will be broadcast on The Mtn. (MountainWest Sports Network).

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    Tickets for the quarterfinal session of the 2011 Mountain West Volleyball Tournament are $12 adults, $9 seniors and $5 students. All-session passes can be purchased for $30 adults, $24 seniors and $12 students. Quarterfinal matches will take place at 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., on Friday, Nov. 18, while the semifinal matches will take place at 5 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 19. All six preliminary matches will be broadcast on The Mtn. (MountainWest Sports Network) and called by Anne Marie Anderson and Amy Gant. The championship match, slated for 6 p.m., on Sunday, Nov. 20, will be televised by CBS Sports Network and called by Jason Knapp and Tammy Blackburn.

    Colorado State won the Mountain West Conference title for the ninth time in 13 years after finishing the conference season with a 12-2 record (19-5 overall). The Rams dropped out of the national rankings following a weekend split at TCU (3-2 loss) and New Mexico (3-2 win). Colorado State currently leads the conference in hitting percentage (.295), while holding their opponents to a league-low .129 average. CSU also leads the Mountain West in blocks (3.25) and service aces (1.45). Individually, Megan Plourde averages a league-leading 1.82 blocks per set, while Brieon Page (.362 hitting percentage) and Dana Cranston (0.41 aces per game) also lead the conference.

    Colorado State leads its series with Air Force by a 36-1 margin. The Falcons' only win over the Rams came in 1982. The two programs have met three times (2000, 2001, 2002) at the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

    The 2011 championship marks the first time since 2007 that the conference has hosted a tournament. The conference held a tournament annually from 1999-2007, but Air Force is winless in post-season competition. The Falcons are 0-3 against Colorado State and 0-2 against New Mexico in tournament action, while holding 0-1 marks with San Diego State and TCU, as well as former conference opponents BYU and Utah.

    Air Force averaged 608 fans during the 2011 season, marking the third-best standard in the program's Division I history. The Falcons totaled 6,683 fans during their 11-match home schedule, which is the second-highest attendance total in program history, trailing only Matt McShane's inaugural season in 2010 (7,045 fans).

    Connecting on seven of 14 swings, without committing a single error, Kristen Holt hit a match-best .500 against San Diego State on Nov. 12. The freshman, one of three Falcons to hit above .200, was the only player on either side of the ball to break even, while attempting at least 10 hits.

    With her second dig against UNLV, Maiya Perich became the program's Division I leader in single-season digs with 356. Perich broke Tracy Wilkerson's 1999 record of 355, while becoming the first Falcon to set a single-season standard for the program since 2003.

    Cami Richan had a strong night against UNLV on Nov. 10, collecting 14 kills, two aces, seven digs and three solo blocks. Her kills and blocks were team highs, while she matched Emma Dridge for the team high in aces. Her three solo stops marked the best single-block performance of the season.

    With a thrilling 28-26 win over UNLV in the third set of the Nov. 10 match, Air Force snapped a 50-set losing streak. The win is the Falcons' first since defeating South Carolina Upstate 3-1 on Sept. 10.

    The third set win marked just the second time since 2005 that Air Force has taken a set from the Rebels. In fact, it is just the sixth set win in the last decade.

    As a team, Air Force is ranked fourth in service aces per set with a 1.24 average. Individually, Maiya Perich holds the same ranking in digs per set with a 4.32 average. Cami Richan is ranked seventh in the kills per set (3.01) and eighth in points per set (3.33), while Hillary Keltner and Josalynn Wise are ranked eighth (5.71 assists per set) and ninth (0.25 aces per set), respectively.

    Air Force concludes the 2011 season with a pair of non-conference matches in California. The Falcons will travel to 18th-ranked Pepperdine on Tuesday, Nov. 22, before closing out the season at Cal State Northridge on Friday, Nov. 25.



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