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Volleyball Tops Boise State at Bronco Invitational

BOISE, Idaho – Northern Arizona women’s volleyball picked up its first victory of the 2009 season with a 3-1 victory over Boise State on Friday on day one of competition at the Boise State Bronco Invitational. NAU (1-0) won its fourth-consecutive season opener by sets of 18-25, 28-26, 25-21, and 25-22.

The Lumberjacks, playing with a team of two upperclassmen and 12 freshmen and sophomores, showed the poise of a veteran team and closed out the Broncos in impressive fashion.

“I would like to say I knew they were going to be that strong, but they had to prove it first and they did,” said head coach Craig Choate. “We talk about the mental aspect of the game a ton and they stood up when it counted. I was really proud of them.”

NAU dropped the opening set, but rallied for three straight wins to seal their first victory over Boise State since 1995. The Lumberjacks are now 9-11 all-time versus Boise State.

“I thought this could be the night where you get rattled,” said Choate. “[Boise State] had a good crowd and it was their home opener. We were mentally strong and came back in game two. As soon as we won that you could see the confidence change. We played the next two games the way we were capable of instead of going through the motions like we did in game one.”

With the match tied 1-1 and trailing 13-9 in the third set, NAU recorded seven straight points and held off the Broncos taking a 2-1 lead. The Lumberjacks sealed the win in the final two sets.

“There was a stretch in game three with Lexi Sullivan serving a bunch of points for us in row,” Choate said. “She was just serving rockets. That was a huge turning point.”

In their first collegiate matches, freshmen Lauren Campbell and Anna Gott were instrumental in the Lumberjack win. Campbell recorded her first career double-double with 18 digs and 14 kills along with a .244 hitting percentage. Gott played all four games and averaged seven digs.

“Lauren had a spectacular game-saving dig off the court in game four that helped us win the rally and secure that game,” said Choate. “Anna had 28 digs in four games, and for a freshman, that is great defense.”

The women will have little time to celebrate as they return to action on Saturday, Aug. 30 with two scheduled matches. The Lumberjacks face Cal State Northridge at 9 a.m. followed by Tulsa at 4 p.m.