USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – The Air Force volleyball team capped the home portion of its season in style this afternoon (March 27), as it took down Boise State – the No. 2 team in the Mountain West – in four sets at the Academy’s Cadet East Gym. With the 25-22, 25-19, 18-25, 25-22 victory, the Falcons improved to 7-6 on the year and equaled the most victories in a single conference season since 1995.
Four Falcons recorded double-digit kill totals on Saturday, as Air Force hit .205 against a team that normally holds its opponents to the second-lowest average in the conference. Junior BrookeLyn Messenger paced the Falcons with 12 kills, while freshman Joi Harvey added 11 and the junior duo of Vittoria Juarez and Bailey Keith each accounted for 10. Harvey, who hit for a match-high .391 (11-2-23) on the day, also led the team with five blocks, including one solo stop. Senior Andi Ahlers (23) and freshman Caroline Reinkensmeyer (22) combined for 45 for the team’s 51 assists, while Reinkensmeyer, Messenger and senior Jordan Daniels tallied services aces for the Falcons. Daniels collected a match-high 19 digs, while Messenger second double-double of the year after adding 16.
Backed by the first six points of the match, Air Force rolled out to an early 8-1 lead. Keith (two), Juarez and senior Cambria Galloway all accounted for kills during the match-opening run, while the latter two also teamed up for a block. Harvey notched a pair of scores, as the Falcons extended their advantage to 11-4, but the Broncos came back to tie the set at 14 and take its first lead of the set on the ensuing play. Juarez evened the score on the next point, while kills from Galloway, Harvey and Keith gave Air Force an 18-16 lead. Boise State tied the set again at 19, but freshman Savannah Neal put down a kill to break the tie and give the Falcons the lead for the final time. Juarez and Messenger added kills and Air Force took the opening set by a 25-22 margin.
Messenger opened the second set with back-to-back kills, while a score from Keith helped Air Force tie the set at three. Boise State took a 7-5 lead, but five-straight points – including kills from Keith, Neal and Messenger – held Air Force take a 10-7 lead and force the Broncos into a timeout. Boise State came back again to tie the set at 11, 12, and 13, before Keith sparked a 4-0 run that included a pair of kills from Neal and gave Air Force the 17-13 lead. Galloway (kill), Harvey (kill) and Reinkensmeyer (ace) scored during another four-point swing by the Falcons that extended its lead to 21-15. Air Force saw its lead cut to three (21-18), but kills from Neal and Harvey stopped the Broncos’ run and secured the 25-19 victory.
While Keith (kill), Galloway (kill) and Harvey (block) gave Air Force the early 3-2 lead in the third, Boise State scored four-straight points to take a 6-3 lead. Harvey put down a kill and teamed up for a block with Neal, as the Falcons scored the next four points to take a 7-6 lead. Boise State retook the lead two plays later, while Messenger (8-9), Harvey (9-10) and Ahlers (10-11) kept the Falcons within one. The Broncos extended their lead to four (14-10) and, although Juarez (kill), Harvey (kill) and Daniels (ace) brought Air Force within two at the 18-16 mark, Boise State scored seven of the final nine points for the 25-18 win.
Juarez and Keith put down kills to help Air Force take a quick 3-0 lead in the fourth, while a kill from Harvey kept the Falcons’ advantage at three (7-4). Boise State pulled within one at the 8-7 mark and, despite a score from Messenger, used a 9-2 run to take a 16-11 lead. Galloway stopped the run with a kill, while another kill from Harvey helped Air Force pull within two (14-16). Freshman Aaryn Scires got in on the scoring action with a kill at the 15-17, while Juarez put down a kill to spark a 7-1 run by the Falcons that tied the set at 20 and gave Air Force a four-point lead (24-20) at match-point. Messenger tallied a pair of kills and put down an ace during that run, while Juarez added two more kills and teamed up for a block with Galloway. Boise State scored the next two points, but Juarez scored the final kill for the 25-22 win.
Air Force closes out its delayed 2020 conference season next weekend with a pair of road contests. The Falcons will travel to San Diego State on Thursday, April 1, before wrapping up the season at league-leading UNLV on Saturday, April 3.