FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona volleyball faces its toughest challenge to date when Eastern Washington and Portland State arrive for matches on Thursday, Oct. 15 and Saturday, Oct. 17. The Eagles and Vikings are locked in a three-way tie with Northern Colorado for first place in the Big Sky Conference.
The Lumberjacks are back home after hitting the road last weekend for matches against Montana and Montana State. NAU (5-10, 2-4 BSC) was swept by Montana, but bounced back and picked up a sweep of their own against Montana State.
The Lumberjacks are reaching the midpoint of the conference season and currently seventh in the Big Sky standings. The top six teams make the Big Sky Championships in November.
Live Stats and
NAU will provide live stats and at www.nauathletics.com for all matches this weekend. Live stats will be available free of charge. Big Sky TV (www.bigskytv.org), the league’s comprehensive video streaming package, video streams all volleyball matches played in Big Sky venues. For the second straight season, the service will be free to viewers, but viewers will need to register at bigskytv.org in order to gain access.
NAU Volleyball Live TV
NAU’s TV Services Department will be broadcasting all three of the Lumberjacks’ matches this weekend. They can be seen LIVE on the Universityhouse Channel (Dish Network 9411). Check nauathletics.com for further television information. Mitch Strohman, the “Voice of the Lumberjacks,” will be handling play-by-play duties with Sharon Falor doing color commentary. Jordan Byrd will serve as the play-by-play for Saturday’s match.
FOX Sports Arizona, on DirectTV channel 686 and Dish Network channel 415, will offer tape delayed airings of NAU matches against The Citadel and Utah State on Wednesday Sept. 16 at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.
Sign of Things to Come
NAU has hit .165 as a team for the 2009 season. In their last four matches, the Lumberjacks have continued to improve at the most important time of the year. NAU has hit a combined .201 against Sacramento State, Northern Colorado, Montana, and Montana State. Even more impressive is three of the four matches were played on the road. In their last match at Montana State, NAU posted a hitting percentage of .319, its second-highest total on the year and highest away from Flagstaff.
Dallmann in Rare Company
Freshman Kelli Dallmann is one of two players in Division I Women’s volleyball to average two kills, three assists, and two digs per set. Dallmann has shown her versatility this season moving back and forth between outside hitter and setter.
NAU has at least one player in the top 10 in five of the seven statistical categories within the Big Sky Conference during league play. Freshman Anna Gott is third in digs (4.14 dpg) and tied for third in service aces (0.36 sapg). Sophomore Katie Bailey ranks fifth in blocks (1.14 bpg) and senior Jana Mays-Robinson sits eighth in assists (7.20 apg). Redshirt freshman Ashley Ames ranks 10th in kills (2.93 kpg).
Anna Gott, Kelli Dallman, and Lauren Campbell are the only Lumberjacks to start all 13 matches and appear in all 50 sets. Gott, Dallman, and Campbell are three of NAU’s five true freshmen who have seen significant playing time this fall. Ashley Ames, in her redshirt freshman year, is second on the team with 0.81 blocks per set.
The Lumberjacks are 20-31 all-time against Eastern Washington in a series dating back to 1986. NAU split with the Eagles last year. The Lumberjacks hold a 15-11 lead over Portland State who first played in 1996. The Lumberjacks were 15-2 against the Vikings, but have since lost nine straight.
Portland State (11-6, 5-1 Big Sky Conference)
The Vikings are on a four-match win streak and are now locked for a three-way first place tie in the Big Sky Conference standings. Portland State has played three home matches (3-0) and two on the road (1-1). Last weekend the Vikings played a rare non-conference game during the Big Sky season with a 3-1 win over Seattle. Portland State faced Eastern Washington as well and defeated the Eagles 3-1. The Bears are hitting .226 as a team and limiting opponents to a .173 percentage. Junior Whitney Phillips leads the Big Sky Conference in kills.
Players to Watch
Whitney Phillips 5-10, OH, Jr. (4.55 kpg, 2.12 dpg)
Marija Vojnovic 5-9, OH, Sr. (2.24 kpg, 2.79 dpg)
Nique Fradella 5-9, S, Sr. (10.84 apg, 1.83 dpg)
Eastern Washington (11-6, 5-1 Big Sky Conference)
The Eagles have been atop the Big Sky standings for the past two weeks and slipped into a tie with Portland State and Northern Colorado after being upset last week by the Vikings at home. Eastern Washington has played four of its six conference matches at home and has won all four splitting its road matches so far. The Eagles are hitting .192 as a team and have allowed their opponents to hit only .177. The Eagles have at least one player in the top 10 of every statistical category listed by the Big Sky this fall.
Players to Watch
Hayley Hills 5-11, OH, Sr. (3.54 kpg, 2.51 dpg)
Chenoa Coviare 6-1, MB, Jr. (2.70 kpg, 1.13 kpg)
Ashley Hamilton 6-0, MB, Sr. (8.92 apg, 1.40 dpg)