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Volleyball Pushes Sacramento State Throughout in Four-Set Defeat

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Freshman outside hitter Jen Wilson posted a breakout performance with 14 kills and a .464 hitting percentage as the Lumberjacks nearly pulled out a 3-1 victory at Sacramento State on Thursday night. The Lumberjacks held a 21-16 lead in the fourth set, but Sacramento State rallied in the late stages to preserve the win. Sacramento State won by scores of 22-25, 25-18, 25-21, and 25-22.

Wilson, from Anaheim, Calif., was the story Thursday night recording career-high marks across the board. In addition to the 14 kills and .464 hitting percentage, Wilson added eight digs and three blocks.

“She played really well,” said head coach Craig Choate of Wilson. “It wasn’t just the hitting. She was just making some plays she normally doesn’t make along the net saving some balls. She had a wonderful match.”

Playing in its first Big Sky Conference match on the road, NAU (4-8, 1-2 BSC) opened play with a 25-22 first set victory against the Hornets whom are tied for the conference lead in wins (8) this fall. It marked the second time NAU has won the opening set away from Flagstaff since Aug. 29 versus Cal State Northridge.

The Lumberjacks played well in the second hitting .357 with only one error, but Sacramento State answered the call with a match-high .438 hitting percentage in the second set and finished the set 25-18.

NAU went on a 6-2 run early in the third set to take the lead from Sacramento State and the set went back and forth throughout with eight ties and four lead changes. The Hornets eventually went on a small 4-0 run to secure the third set 25-21.

In the fourth set, the Hornets appeared to have faced the Lumberjacks best effort and prevailed as they opening up an 8-2 lead. With Lexie Schroeder serving, the Lumberjacks capitalized on two quick points then three consecutive attacking errors to bring NAU within one at 8-7.

The Lumberjacks went on another mini-run holding a 13-11 then pushed the margin to five at 21-16. Sacramento State answered with seven-consecutive points closing the match with an 8-1 edge.

“Every time it came to push and shove we couldn’t pass,” said Choate of what became the difference in Thursday’s match. “We hit better tonight than we have against any team. We just couldn’t pass the ball when it mattered. It is going to be this way all year long until we pick up the speed, but that will change with time.”

The Lumberjacks finished with their second-best hitting percentage of the season (.248) and their top performance in the early stages of conference play. NAU tied a season-low in hitting errors committing just 11 for the match.

The women also recorded a season-high 88 digs led by freshman libero Anna Gott who collected a match-high 26 digs. Freshmen Kelli Dallman, Lauren Campbell, and Lexie Schroeder all posted double-digits in digs forcing rallies and keeping NAU in the match.

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