Rebels Fly Right By Air Force
Sept. 24, 2009
USAF Academy, Colo. - The UNLV Rebels (3-7 overall, 2-1 Mountain West) are riding their first winning streak of 2009 with their 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-23) sweep of the Air Force Falcons (8-7, 0-3) Thursday night from Clune Arena in USAF Academy, Colo. The Rebels rallied for victories in the first and third sets, while winning with ease in the second frame, while claiming their 20th straight win in the head-to-head series.
"The team played with good composure although they were a little sluggish from the travel," noted UNLV head coach Allison Keeley. "They kept the ball in play and finished strong when they had the chance."
The Rebels out-hit the Falcons by a .214 to .132 clip, with a .429 hitting efficiency in the second going down as the highest in the match. UNLV owned higher tallies in each frame, although Air Force racked up more kills in all but one of the sets. The Falcons amassed three more kills (41-to-38) in the losing effort, while owning nine more miscues (26-to-17).
The first set was a back-and-forth affair that featured 17 ties. Air Force looked to take control of the match after the game was evened up at the 20-20 juncture with consecutive points for a 22-20 lead. UNLV immediately slowed the Falcons momentum with a time out and came out of the break on fire with four consecutive points. Air Force staved off the first set point only to watch Sara Nehf throw down her fifth kill of the stanza.
UNLV took control of the second set following the frame's eighth tie coming at the 16-16 mark. The Rebels then went on a scoring spree knocking out nine of the set's final 11 points.
The third and final set had 10 ties of its own and nearly followed the path of the first frame. The Falcons broke open a 14-14 tie with two different five-point leads with the last coming at the 21-16 juncture. UNLV scored the next two points to pull within three at 21-18, which forced an Air Force timeout. The Rebels won four of the next six points to make it a one-point affair at 23-22. Air Force called its second and final timeout of the set, but watched its attackers error three consecutive times to give UNLV the victory.
Nehf led the Rebel offensive with 11 kills on .300 hitting. She also contributed eight digs and four assisted blocks.
Cursty Jackson followed closely behind with nine kills, as she hit .316 in the match. Jackson led the team in blocking with five tallies, four of which were assisted.
Samantha Richard dished out 25 assists to lead UNLV in that department. Richard contributed six digs, as well.
Defensively, Nile Te'o tied Nehf for the team-high in digs with eight. The eight digs, as well as, three aces are career-highs for Te'o.
"Cursty and Sara provided consistent fire power, while Nile came in as a libero and picked up the intensity and ball control," said Keeley.
The Falcons got double-digit kill figures from Michelle Harrington and Nichole Stilwell, as they notched 10 apiece. Harrington was errorless in the match on 15 swings for a match-high .667 hitting efficiency. Jessica Hellmann had a match-high 38 assists, while Kelly Spencer topped all defensive players with 17 digs.
UNLV returns to action Saturday (Sept. 26), on the road, with a 1:00 pm tilt against the San Diego State Aztecs.