Air Force Falls to Undefeated Northern Colorado

Sept. 1, 2012

GREELEY, Colo. - The Air Force volleyball team dropped a 3-1 decision to unbeaten Northern Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 1, during its final match of the Hampton Inn and Suites Classic in Greeley, Colo. Junior Cami Richan led all players with 12 kills, but the Falcons fell in 23-25, 25-20, 7-25, 12-25 to the tournament host Bears.

Freshman Raquel Rosas earned the Falcons' first offensive point of the match and a block from sophomores Ayesha Hein and Hillary Keltner gave Air Force an early 4-3 lead. UNC scored seven of the next nine points to go up four (10-6), before Cami Richan sparked an Air Force run to even the score at 10. The junior tallied back-to-back kills and teamed with Hein on a block, while freshman Taylor Parker put down the equalizing kill. Rosas added another score that tied the set at 12, but the Bears scored the next five unanswered points to go ahead 17-12.Hein and Keltner posted back-to-back scores to stop the run, but the Bears continued to lead 21-17.A kill from Richan started a comeback by Air Force, who scored seven of the next 10 points to pull within one at 24-23. During the run, Parker and Rosas teamed up for a block, while Parker, Hein and freshman Felicia Clement (two) combined for four kills. Junior Josalynn Wise added a service ace, but the comeback fell just short as the tying attempt grazed the out-of-bounds line and UNC claimed the 25-23 victory.

Clement put the Falcons on the board first in the second set, as kills from Hein and Keltner helped Air Force to a 4-1 lead. Air Force continued to lead Northern Colorado with multiple kills from Hein, Richan and Clement. Senior Maiya Perich was a major factor in Clement's second kill, as she saved a ball that rattled around the rafters. Hein and Keltner teamed up for a block to put Air Force up 14-8 and force UNC to call their first timeout. The duo of Hein and Keltner struck again, posting back-to-back kills, before Parker and Richan helped Air Force go up 18-12. Northern Colorado scored four unanswered points to cut the Falcons' lead to two (18-16), but Richan stopped the run with a kill. The Bears crept back within two (22-20), but kills from Hein and Keltner secured the 25-20 victory for Air Force. The win marks just the third time since the two teams renewed their rivalry in 2004 that Air Force has taken UNC to extra sets.

Despite an ace from Richan to start the third, Northern Colorado used several long scoring runs to take a commanding 18-4 lead in the set. Rosas and Richan provided the offense for the Falcons, before Hein put down a kill to put the Falcons at five. Sophomore Victoria Foster added a kill, but Air Force fell 25-7.

The two programs traded points to open the fourth game, with Rosas earning two of the Falcons' three points. Northern Colorado jumped ahead 14-5, with Richan and Foster adding points for Air Force. Keltner and freshman Maggie Sherrill added kills, before Hein scored the Falcons' next three points to put the Falcons at 10 points. Foster added one final kill, but the Falcons dropped the final set 25-12.

Richan tallied a match-best 12 kills, while Hein added 10. Keltner, who connected on six-of-nine attempts, while committing just one error, for a team-leading .556 hitting average, added another double-double to her season total, as she collected 32 assists and 11 digs. Perich matched her uniform number with 23 digs, while Hein and Richan paced the Falcons with three blocks apiece. Richan also registered a service ace, as she and Wise accounted for the Falcons' serving scores.

Air Force returns to action next week when it travels to Washington, D.C., for the first-ever All-Academy Championship at the Pentagon. The Falcons will face service academy rivals Army, Citadel and Navy over the Sept. 7-8 weekend.