Volleyball Sweeps Montana State, Evens Conference Record at 3-3

Volleyball Sweeps Montana State, Evens Conference Record at 3-3

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Freshman Niki Small posted a match-high 11 kills with a .526 hitting percentage helping Northern Arizona volleyball beat Montana State, 3-0, at the Rolle Activity Center on Saturday night.  The Lumberjacks won by sets of 25-22, 25-15, and 25-14 pushing their record to 3-3 in the Big Sky Conference and a 5-1 record at home.

Small turned in the second highest hitting percentage of her young career converting 11-of-19 attacks on the night with only one error.  The freshman middle blocker from Ashland, Ore., has three matches this season with .500 hitting percentages or higher.

"We played really good this weekend starting with Montana on Thursday and then tonight," said Small.  "We came out and worked well together and communicated well.  Thursday's match carried over to the match tonight.  We are having a lot of fun and hopefully we can keep moving closer to a chance at the conference [tournament]."

NAU suffered a narrow 3-2 loss to Montana on Thursday night but answered back on Saturday with its most impressive conference win of the season.  The Lumberjacks hit .333 as a team, its highest total of the year, and limited Montana State (9-10, 2-5 BSC) to a .120 team hitting percentage.

Along with Small, senior Chelsea Cheeley and sophomores Kelli Dallmann and Lauren Campbell all had big nights for the Lumberjacks.  Cheeley recorded nine kills with a career-high .727 hitting percentage.  Dallmann totaled the match's only double-double with 41 assists and 13 digs, her second straight and seventh of the year, while Campbell added in 10 kills. 

"We have a great group this year," said head coach Craig Choate.  "Whether they are out on the court or on the sideline they support each other.  This was an important win after a tough five-set loss to Montana on Thursday.  Now we need to get it done on the road at Eastern Washington and Portland State."

The Lumberjacks play Eastern Washington on Thursday, October 15 and Portland State on Saturday, October 17.  Both matches are set to start at 7 p.m. Flagstaff time.

DID YOU KNOW…Northern Arizona ranked among the top athletic departments in the country during the 2009-10 academic year with a Top 100 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings at 78th. NAU ranked among the top 100 for the seventh time in the last eight seasons and 12th overall in the last 14 years.