Rebels Fly By The Falcons
Nov. 2, 2013
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV volleyball team needed four sets to claim its 29th straight win - a 3-1 decision - over the Air Force Falcons on Saturday at the Cox Pavilion. UNLV won the first set, 25-20, only to see Air Force even the match at 1-all with a 25-23 win in the second set. The Rebels came out of intermission with back-to-back set victories, 25-19 and 25-20, for the triumph, which moved their overall record to 13-9 and 8-4 in the Mountain West. With the loss, the Falcons dropped to 5-19 and 2-10, respectively.
The Rebels extend their record in the head-to-head series to 34-2 with a perfect 18-0 showing in matches played in Las Vegas.
UNLV outhit Air Force by .102 points (.307-.205) with help from five more kills (57-52) and two less errors (18-20). The Rebels' hitting efficiency was a result of their attackers amassing .294 or better showings in three of the four sets. They topped out with a .394 in the opening frame and followed it up with a .367 in the second and a .310 in the fourth. Their lowest output occurred in the third with a .265 average. Air Force, on the other hand, attempted 29 more swings (156-127) in the contest than UNLV, but hit .171 or lower in three stanzas. The Falcons mustered up a staggering .438 effort in the second - the only set they won.
"I thought our offense was much more effective tonight with fewer errors than on Thursday," said Rebel head coach Cindy Fredrick. Katlin (Winters) and Madeline (Westman) opened things up with a strong front row. I really liked the way Bree (Hammel) came in and played. She's been playing well in practice so it was good to see her play well."
The match featured 22 tied scores and 10 lead changes with half of both figures taking place in the first.
The first set was a close see-saw affair that didn't see either team lead by more than three points - Air Force on three occasions - until the waning moments. With the Falcons leading by one at the 21-20 mark, UNLV reeled off six straight points to claim a 1-0 lead. Four of those six tallies were the result of attacking errors by Air Force, while Daryn Glenn had one kill and Allison Davies had one ace.
The Rebels carried over their momentum from the first into the second. They held five six-point leads only to witness Air Force go on a late tear. The Falcons won nine of 10 points to turn a six-point deficit (21-15) into a one-point lead (23-22). After UNLV knotted the score at 23-all off a kill from Westman, Air Force countered with kills from two of its own - Hillary Keltner and Ayesha Hein - for the win.
The third and fourth sets played out very similar. Air Force began both with leads that ranged between one and three points only to see the Rebels flip each one to their favor. UNLV took possession of the third after a 6-all tie and never looked back en route to winning by six points - the fourth six-point edge of the set. The Falcons led up until the 10-9 juncture in the fourth before they relinquished the advantage after a 10-all tie. Although the two teams were mostly separated by two or three points afterwards, the Rebels maintained control through match point.
UNLV got double-doubles from Sekola Falemaka and Stephanie Thelen. The former achieved the feat off of 13 kills and 12 digs, while the latter used a combination of a match-high 44 assists and 11 digs. Falemaka also added four assists and three aces. Thelen chipped in four assisted blocks and three kills.
Winters paced the Rebel attack with a match-best .542 hitting efficiency and a team-high 15 kills to go along with two total blocks (one solo) and a dig.
Westman, who had two aces and three digs, was a key contributor on both sides of the net with 12 kills and eight total blocks (one solo). At the service line she had two aces, the second one going in the books as the match winner.
In two sets of play, Hammel hit .385 with six kills. She also added one assist and one dig.
Allison Davies led all players with 18 digs and also contributed three aces and two assists.
The Rebels hit the road for their next four matches with the first three taking place in a span of five days in the Golden State. They open up with a tilt at Fresno State on Nov. 7, before heading north to San Jose State on Nov. 9 and then south to San Diego State on Nov. 11. A stop at in-state rival Nevada, Reno concludes the trek on Nov. 16.
NOTES: UNLV had eight aces Saturday against Air Force, the last time a team had that many in a match was on Sept. 1, 2012 against Portland ... With help from the four-set match, Westman moved into fourth place in UNLV's career record book in sets played with 417 ... Westman also moved into sixth in career kills with 916 with the addition of 13 tonight ... Westman also moved into a tie for fourth in solo blocks with the addition of one tonight ... With help from her three kills, Glenn moved into 10th place in UNLV's career record book in total attempts with 2,204, while Falemaka took over sole possession of sixth with 2,430 ... Falemaka also moved into seventh place in career digs with 842 with the addition of 12 tonight ... With the help from four assisted blocks, Thelen moved into seventh place in UNLV's career record book in assisted blocks with 207.