FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona women's volleyball travels to Reno, Nev., this weekend for the Nevada Wolfpack Invitational. The Lumberjacks are scheduled to play Nevada, Pacific, and No. 24 Arizona at the Virginia Street Gym on Friday, September 10 and Saturday, September 11.
This Weekend: Wolfpack Invitational
The Lumberjacks travel to Reno, Nev., for the Nevada Wolfpack Invitational this weekend. NAU plays matches against Nevada, No. 24 Arizona, and Pacific. The Lumberjacks face Nevada on Friday, September 10 at noon followed by Pacific at 5 p.m. On Satuday, the women play No. 24 Arizona at noon.
Last Weekend: Fiesta Bowl Tournament
NAU volleyball finished 3-0 at the Fiesta Bowl Tournament this past weekend. The Lumberjacks won the Fiesta Bowl Championship for the 11th time in the tournament's history. The women defeated Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 3-1, Rider, 3-0, and Maryland Eastern Shore, 3-0. Junior outside hitter Kobi Christensen received tournament MVP honors and sophomore Anna Gott was named the event's Most Outstanding Libero. Sophomore setter Kelli Dallmann also made All-Tournament Team.
Head Coach Craig Choate won his 300th career match against Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday, September 4. Choate has coached at New Mexico State (1990-93), San Jose State (1993-07), and is in his third year at Northern Arizona. He has amassed a career record of 298-286.
Feasted at Fiesta
Junior outside hitter Kobi Christensen received the Fiesta Bowl Volleyball Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading all players in hitting percentage and kills in each of Northern Arizona's three matches. She totaled 48 kills on 78 attacks over the weekend with only 11 errors. The native of Kelowna, B.C., Canada averaged a .474 hitting percentage with 4.80 kills per set with 1.20 digs per set during the tournament.
Big Sky Leaders
Four Lumberjacks rank among the top statistical leaders in the Big Sky Conference. Sophomore Kelli Dallmann is second in the conference with 10.04 assists per set while junior Kobi Christensen is fourth in kills per set with 3.50. Sophomore Anna Gott is second in the league with 0.48 service aces per set. The Phoenix native is sixth with 4.28 digs per set. Sophomore Lexi Sullivan is seventh in the Big Sky with 3.14 kills per set, and Niki Small is ninth in hitting percentage at .254.
The Lumberjacks are 7-5 all-time against Nevada in a series that dates back to 1982. NAU has not played Nevada since 1991, a match the Lumberjacks won, 3-1. NAU has a four-match win streak against the Wolfpack. NAU is 3-20 all-time against Arizona. The series dates back to 1974 with the last matchup in 2003, a 3-0 win by the Wildcats. NAU has lost the last three meetings. The Lumberjacks play Pacific for the first time.
Small Only in Name
In her first collegiate tournament, freshman Niki Small earned All-Tournament team honors at the UniWyo Wyoming Invite. Small started all four matches and played in all 15 sets as NAU went 1-3 with a win over Murray State (3-1) and losses to Central Arkansas (3-0), Southern Utah (3-2), and Wyoming (3-0). Small posted a .363 hitting percentage, with 2.47 kills per set. The freshman from Ashland, Ore., also totaled 0.67 blocks per set. She led the team in hitting percentage during the tournament.
Back to Full Strength
Sophomore Lexi Sullivan played her first match in 343 days after suffering a knee injury last fall on September 17 at home against Idaho State. Sullivan received a medical hardship in 2009 and returned against Central Arkansas on August 27. She posted a team-high 10 kills and .192 hitting percentage. She led NAU in kills in three of the Lumberjacks' four matches at the UniWyo Wyoming Invite.
The Lumberjacks practice Monday-Thursday from 2-4:30 p.m. in the Rolle Activity Center. Media seeking admittance need to contact Joe Scacco by phone at 928-523-6330 or by email at Joe.Scacco@nau.edu.
What is the history of Northern Arizona volleyball? We're glad you asked. Going back to the old AIAW days, NAU has been a player in women's intercollegiate athletics for 35 years. In its 23 years in the NCAA, NAU has posted nine winning seasons and 15 with double digit wins. The Lumberjacks have reached the postseason 14 of the past 19 years. In 1999, NAU went to the NCAA tournament suffering a 3-0 loss to No. 5 North Carolina.