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NAU Volleyball Held Off by Northern Colorado

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Jen Wilson and Ashley Ames posted career-highs while combining for 26 kills but were unable to force Northern Colorado to a fifth set as Northern Arizona volleyball fell to 1-3 in the Big Sky Conference at the Rolle Activity Center Saturday night. The Lumberjacks were defeated by scores of 22-25, 25-16, 30-28, and 25-22.

Wilson, a freshman from Anaheim, Calif., posted a hitting percentage of .481 and a career-high 16 kills. Ames, out of Helena, Mont., and listed as a freshman after redshirting during the 2008 season, totaled a career-high 10 kills and hit .381 for the match.

In front of 1,166 fans due in large part to Family Weekend at NAU, the Lumberjacks continued their strong play in the early sets jumping out to a 1-0 lead. Northern Colorado (10-7, 4-0 BSC) answered with a nine-point win in the second set.

NAU (4-9, 1-3 BSC) held leads throughout the match, but continued to lose leads late in the set. The Bears remained unbeaten in the Big Sky regular season picking up key points late in the third and fourth sets.

NAU has played four-set matches in each of its four Big Sky contests showing the ability to play with more seasoned teams around the league despite its youth. In Saturday’s match the Lumberjacks started six freshman and one sophomore.

“We need to learn how to get over the hump,” said head coach Craig Choate. “We had some chances and didn’t make it happen. We had some people hit really well and we had some people who didn’t hit well that usually hit well. They had three seniors who took over and seniors tend to beat freshmen.”

The Lumberjacks will travel to Montana and Montana State next weekend and will need to continue to rely on its underclassmen to pull out wins in the early stages of the conference season.

“I told [our team] I was really happy with the match but I am glad they are upset because I don’t want them to be happy,” Choate said. “They need to learn from these types of matches and continue to improve.”

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