Air Force Falls Short in MWC First-Round Match
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Despite a strong start, the ninth-seeded Air Force volleyball game dropped a four-game set to eighth-seeded TCU in the play-in game of the 2005 Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev., on Tuesday, Nov. 22. After dominating the first game by a 30-23 score, the Falcons dropped a heartbreakingly close 34-32 shootout in the second. As the momentum swung, the Horned Frogs responded with 30-23 and 30-17 victories over the Falcons to advance to the conference quarterfinals.
In part from an ace by Carly Siefken (Beaverton, Ore.), Air Force took an early 3-0 lead. TCU responded with a run of its own to take the 5-4 lead. The two teams traded points in a fierce battle, as neither squad was ready to give up a major lead. Kills from Kristin Hamlett (Escondido, Calif.) and Brooke Akers (Desert Hot Springs, Calif.) contributed to the Falcons' score, as did an ace from Rebecca Gallegos (Las Vegas, N.M.). Two kills from Hamlett caused TCU to call its first timeout of the match. Following a point for the Horned Frogs, which brought the game to within two (18-16), the Falcons stormed ahead with the next five points. Hamlett posted a kill and assisted on a block, while Kristina Stewart (Glendale, Ariz.) recorded a kill and an ace, during the run. Up 23-17, Air Force added a pair of solo stops from Akers and Hamlett, while defensively keeping the Horned Frogs down. A big dig from Hamlett turned into a kill and Jasamine Pettie (Baton Rouge, La.) helped finish off TCU for the 30-23 victory.
Air Force surged ahead in the second game, using kills from Siefken and Akers to take the early 10-6 lead. Hamlett added another kill and Siefken posted up another ace as the Falcons advanced their lead to six. Akers and Hamlett continued to score, as did Siefken and Stewart, but TCU hung around and finally tied the series at 24. The Horned Frogs went on to take their first lead since the opening point at the 28-27 mark. Akers quickly evened things up and the trend continued. A one point lead by either team was quickly tied, until TCU used two straight points to claim the heartbreaking 34-23 win.
The third game was just as close as the first two, but the momentum had changed slightly. Gallegos came on strong in the set, recording a pair if kills in the opening shots. TCU used a run midway through the set and several Air Force serving errors to secure the lead, en route to the 30-23 win. TCU recorded the first two points of the fourth set, but Air Force responded with two of their own to tie the score on a kill by Pettie. The Horned Frogs embarked on a five-point run to take the 8-3 lead. The match continued that way, as an Air Force point was countered with a flurry of scores from the Horned Frogs, as they rolled to the 30-17 win.
Akers, hitting .400 on the night, totaled a match-best 19 kills. Hamlett, who recorded a double-double with 12 kills and 15 digs, had the second-best kill total of anyone on the floor. Siefken topped the match with 40 assists, while adding two aces and fell just one dig shy of her own double-double. Hamlett lead the team with two blocks, while Stewart led the Falcons with three aces.
Air Force concluded the regular season with a 5-28 overall record.