Air Force Travels to MWC Tournament

    Michelle Harrington
    Michelle Harrington

    Nov. 19, 2007

    The Air Force volleyball team travels to Las Vegas, Nev., for the 2007 Mountain West Conference Volleyball Tournament. The Falcons begin action on Wednesday, Nov. 21, when they face San Diego State in the tournament's play-in match. The action will take place at 3:30 p.m. (PST), at Cox Pavilion on the campus of UNLV. The winner of the play-in match will face top-seed Colorado State on Thursday, Nov. 22.

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    The Aztecs, who enter the match with a 12-15 record, remain the only team in two years that Air Force has taken a game from. Aime Cordeiro leads the Mountain West Conference with 6.14 digs per game. As a team, the Aztecs are ranked third with 16.07 digs. In addition, SDSU is ranked third in the league with 3.00 blocks per game.


    HISTORY 101

    Air Force has never faced San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference tournament. The Falcons have played Colorado State on three occasions, while facing New Mexico on two. Air Force has also played BYU, TCU and Utah in the seasons' final tournament. The Falcons have never won a match at the MWC tournament; however it took a game from TCU in 2005.



    Freshman Kelly Spencer will celebrate her 19th birthday on Friday, Nov. 23. She is the eighth member of the Air Force volleyball team that turned a year older during the volleyball season.



    Kim Kallabis was selected to the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America District VII Second-Team, the College Sports Information Directors of America. Holding a dual-major GPA of 3.68 in mathematics and operations research, Kallabis is just the fourth Air Force volleyball player to earn academic all-district honors from CoSIDA. She joins Katherine Dehne (1999), Laura Terry (1999) and Delavane Diaz (2003) as the program's recipients of this prestigious selection.



    Sophomore Michelle Harrington and freshman Caroline Kurtz are both quite close to entering the Academy's Division I single-season record books. Harrington is just two solo blocks shy of 10th place (16), while Kurtz's 224 digs are just two shy of 10th-place in that category.



    Freshman Nichole Stilwell jumped into the program's Division I single-season assisted blocks list at Colorado State, as she helped on a pair of stops. With another pair of assisted blocks at Wyoming, Stilwell moved into a tie for seventh with 62. Equaling the total Shaylor Billings set in 1999, Stilwell is now just two more assisted blocks shy of fifth-place and four out of the top three.



    In the season finale at Wyoming, it was the Falcons' younger teammates that guided the way. Freshman Caroline Kurtz led the squad in kills and digs, while classmate Nichole Stilwell is second in kills. Sophomore Michelle Harrington, who posted the best hitting percentage, accounted for a team-best five blocks. Harrington also accounted for two of the team's three service aces, while freshman Jessica Hellmann tallied the other.


    WHAT A WIN!!

    Until its thrilling 30-24 victory over San Diego State on Nov. 2, Air Force had not won a game in regular season Mountain West Conference action since Nov. 11, 2005, although it did take one from TCU on Nov. 22, 2005, in the conference tournament.



    The story of the night on Nov. 2 was blocking, as the two teams combined for 28 total blocks. Air Force's 14 blocks shattered the previous best of 9.5, which was set against North Carolina A&T in early September. The six solo blocks bested the previous high of four, while the 16 assisted stops were the third-best total on the year.



    During the Falcons' block party with San Diego State on Nov. 2, Michelle Harrington led the Falcons with a season-best eight blocks, including a pair of individual stops. Jasamine Pettie collected five blocks (one solo, four assisted) and Nichole Stilwell added two solo stops and a pair of assisted blocks. Katie Batchelder (one solo, two assisted) and Caroline Kurtz (two assisted) rounded out the Falcons' blocking machine.



    With 49 assists during the Nov. 1-2 weekend, senior Kim Kallabis became just the sixth player in Division I era to tally at least 600 assists in a single season. In addition, with those 49 helpers, Kallabis moved from ninth to seventh in the single-season standings. She is now 31 assists shy of sixth-place.



    Backed by the luck of the coin toss, Air Force has earned the right to the first serve in 24 of 30 matches. In addition, the Falcons have served first in the fifth-game during three of four such games.



    The Air Force volleyball staff began a new tradition at TCU on Sept. 21, as they unveiled the new "Spirit Award". The honor is given to the athlete that shows the most team spirit during a match. Kristina Stewart, who was the most spirited during the match at Colorado State, captured the honor again at Wyoming.




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