The Nevada volleyball team posted a .285 hitting percentage while out-blocking and out-serving Air Force to win its conference opener for the first time since 2012 as the Wolf Pack topped the Falcons in five sets, 3-2, on Thursday evening.
Sophomore Madison Foley posted a team-high 18 kills for Nevada (6-7, 1-0 MW) to go along with a team-best 16 digs during the conference-opening win. Others to claim double figures in kills included junior Madison Morell (16) and senior Sam Willoughby (11). Senior Kara Kasser reached double digits in digs with 12.
After narrowly dropping the first set, 25-23, the Pack pieced together an impressive performance in set No. 2. Nevada created some separation after using a 5-1 run that broke a 5-5 tie to give themselves a 10-6 lead. Air Force would cut its deficit to two, 13-11, before a kill from Groenweghe sparked another big run before the Pack claimed the set in convincing fashion, 25-16, that evened up the match.
Air Force would counter with a five-point win in the third set, 25-20, thanks in large part to a .560 hitting percentage in the set. As the Falcons moved into the fourth set and looked to wrap up the match, an Air Force service error gave the Pack the 25-16 fourth set victory that sent it to a fifth set.
The fifth and final set came down to the wire and needed a few extra swings to put the match in the books. With the score set at 13-13, the Falcons recorded the crucial next point and looked for match point on its next serve. A timely kill by Foley however, tied the match up once more and forced it into extras.
The two teams battled point for point over the next few serves before an attack error on the Falcons gave the Wolf Pack a chance to collect match point. With Nevada up 17-16, senior Taylar Rothfuss set up Morell for the set and game-winning kill.
The Pack will wrap up its first conference road trip of the season at New Mexico on Saturday, Sept. 26, at 12 p.m.