WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Air Force volleyball team closed out the Service Academy Challenge with a pair of losses on Friday, Sept. 13. The Falcons dropped a five-set heartbreaker to service academy rival Army (25-23, 27-25,22-25, 23-25, 14-16) in the day’s opener, before falling 3-0 to Yale (19-25, 20-25, 14-25) in the nightcap at the Pentagon Athletic Center.
In the match with the Black Knights, the Falcons captured the first two sets but surrendered the final three, including a heartbreaking 16-14 loss in the deciding set. Junior Ayesha Hein paced the Falcons with 12 kills and .440 average (12k-1e-25a), while senior Cami Richan (11), sophomore Akokwe Clement (11) and classmate Maggie Sherrill (10) all recorded double-digit kills. Junior Hillary Keltner added 39 assists, while Richan led the team with three service aces. Defensively, junior Emma Dridge collected a career-high 32 digs and sophomore Rebecca Bates added 12, while Sherrill (1-2), Richan (0-3), Hein (0-3) and sophomore Raquel Rosas (0-3) all accounted for three total blocks.
Hein also paced the Falcons offensively against Yale, collecting nine kills on 16 attempts and one error for a .500 average, while Keltner assisted on 27 of the team’s 31 total kills. Keltner was one of three Falcons to tally a service ace, joining Richan and senior Josalynn Wise. Sophomore Rachael Bradley Powers led the team with a season-best matching 11 digs, while Rosas added three blocks, including one solo stop.
Air Force opens the Mountain West season next Thursday, when it hosts New Mexico the first match of the season at Cadet East Gym. The Falcons and Lobos will kick off conference play at 6 p.m.