Falcons fall in the state of Colorado

FORT COLLINS, Colorado- Despite a career-boosting afternoon from the senior BrookeLyn Messenger, the Air Force volleyball team returned a four-set decision against Colorado State on Saturday (Nov. 12) in Fort Collins. In their final away game of the regular season, the Falcons lost to the hosts, the Rams, 25-16, 16-25, 16-25, 18-25.

Messenger racked up a career-best — and match-high — 18 kills that day while making just three misses on 40 swings for a .375 average. The senior added 16 digs and two service aces to lead the team in both categories and win her eighth double-double of the year. Junior Joi Harvey added 10 kills at .381 (10-2-21) while he was junior Caroline Reinkensmeyer recorded 40 assists and 10 digs for her 10th career double-double and junior MacRuss rounded out the Falcons’ stat leaders with two solo blocks.

Harvey opened the match with a kill after an impressive rally by both teams. The Junior added another kill while a punch from Messenger helped the Air Force forge an early 5-2 advantage. Senior kills Sarah Markwart bookended an ace from the second year Murphy Riggs, as Air Force pushed its lead to four (10-6). The Falcons extended their lead to seven (16-9) after hitting a 6-1 run that included two kills from Harvey and his second team Ella Chuor, as well as Messenger and Russ strikes. Chuor added another pair of kills as the Air Force hit the 20-point plateau with eight (20-12). Markwardt and Russ added kills while two strikes from Messenger gave the Falcons a 25-16 win.

The Rams got off to a quick 4-1 start in the second before teams traded the next eight points, with Messenger, Tschuor, Markwardt and Russ tallying the Falcons’ points (5-7). After back-to-back CSU points, teams continued to trade points, with kills from Messenger posting a hit from Reinkensmeyer (8-11). Markwardt added two kills, but the Rams extended their lead to 11 after seven straight points (10-21). second grader Ellie Eichhorn and newbie Savanah Johnson additional kills (12-22) and hits from Harvey (solo block) and Messenger (kill) kept the Rams on the set point, but CSU won the game by a 25-16 lead.

Messenger batted first in the third, but the Rams scored the next four to send the Air Force into an early timeout. CSU extended their lead to five (6-1) before Johnson pulled up a kill to halt their run. The Air Force used a 5-2 run to go to four (7-11) – a stretch that included a kill and a block from Russ and punches from Tschuor, Markwardt and Johnson. A Messenger kill put the Falcons in double digits (10-15), but despite kills from Harvey, Eichhorn and Messenger, the Rams grabbed another 25-16 win.

Russ laid the opening point of the fourth set while another kill from the second set, plus punches from Messenger (two) and Riggs helped the Air Force level the set in six. Reinkensmeyer tied the set with seven while kills from Markwardt (9-10) and Harvey (10-11) kept the Falcons within a set. Colorado State strings together three points in a row to send the Air Force to a 10-14 timeout. Messenger scored the Falcons’ next three points, while a kill by Johnson brought the Air Force back to one (14-15). The Rams took the lead by five (19-14) before Messenger served two consecutive aces to bring the deficit back down to two (17-19). The senior added another kill, but the Rams finished with a 6-1 run for a 25-18 win.

The Falcons cap the regular season next week when they host two conference opponents at Cadet East Gym. The Air Force will welcome Boise State to the academy on Thursday, November 17 before finishing the home season against Utah State on Saturday, November 19.