Air Force Volleyball Drops Two at Falcon Classic

By: AFA Media Relations
By: AFA Media Relations
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USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – The Air Force volleyball team dropped a pair of extra set affairs on Saturday, Aug. 30, during the second day of competition at the Falcon Classic, in Honor of Amy Svoboda. The Falcons fell to Rutgers this afternoon by a 3-1 margin, before dropping a tough 3-2 decision to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in the nightcap.

Taking a 25-19 victory in the opening set, Air Force struck first during its afternoon contest with the Scarlet Knights, but Rutgers responded with three straight 25-21, 25-17, 25-21 victories.

Despite taking the first set of the day from the Scarlet Knights, by a 25-19 score, the Falcons dropped the The Falcons accounted of 14 total blocks, including solo stops from freshman Shelley Spires and junior Akokwe Clement. Junior Raquel Rosas led the team with four blocks (all assisted), while Spires and Clement each added three (one solo, two assisted).

Rosas also paced the team in on the offensive side of the net, tallying a team-leading 11 kills and .667 hitting percentage (11k-2e-15a). She was also one of three Falcons to record a service ace in the match, joining senior Emma Dridge and junior Rebecca Bates. Dridge and Bates also paced the team with 10 digs apiece, while senior Hillary Keltner posted 30 assists.

“We served and passed inconsistently,” head coach Matt McShane said following the opening match. “But, I think, the most disappointing part was the opportunities that we lost. (Rutgers) is a smart team ... they saw that we couldn’t stop their middles, so they decided to go there every time. We had three or four “odd” plays every set, where we just weren’t prepared.”

Clement recorded a career-high 23 kills during the Falcons’ heartbreaking 25-18, 23-25, 20-25, 25-22, 14-16 loss to the Cougars on Saturday night.

Hitting at a clip of .341, Clement improved her personal total by five kills, while tying with Rosas for the team lead in blocks (three – one solo, two assisted). Clement was one of three Falcons to surpass the 10-kill mark, as Spires and Sherrill added totals of 13 and 12, respectively.

Backed by 47 assists and 17 digs, Keltner recorded her first double-double of the season and the 26th of her career. Bates led the team in digs with 19, while Dridge recorded three service aces.

“It’s disappointing, but we are doing a lot of great things,” McShane said after the evening contest. “Now, we’re learning that there are little points. From 10 on (in the deciding set), we missed two serves and two free ball passes. If we make those four plays, we probably win that match. We’re doing great things, but we just need to take care of the little things.”

Air Force closes out competition at the Falcon Classic, in Honor of Amy Svoboda, tomorrow (Aug. 31), when they host Cal at 1:00 p.m.

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