FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona volleyball plays one match this week traveling to Sacramento State on Friday, October 22. The Lumberjacks are halfway through the Big Sky Conference season and face Sacramento State for the second time this year. NAU defeated the Vikings, 3-0, at home on September 25.
NAU (7-11, 3-5 BSC) plays its third consecutive away match after traveling to Eastern Washington and Portland State last week. The Lumberjacks are currently seventh in the Big Sky Conference standings.
Sacramento State (11-12, 4-4 BSC) have lost their last two matches, at Montana and Montana State, after four-straight conference home wins. Sacramento State is 7-2 at home this season and 4-0 in league play.
The Lumberjacks are 7-26 all-time against Sacramento State in a series that dates back to 1991. The Lumberjacks snapped a three-match losing streak to Sacramento State last month.
This Weekend: Sacramento State
Northern Arizona volleyball plays one match this week traveling to Sacramento State on Friday, October 22. The Lumberjacks are halfway through the Big Sky Conference season and face Sacramento State for the second time this year. NAU defeated the Vikings, 3-0, at home on September 25.
Last Friday: Eastern Washington
Northern Arizona volleyball dropped a 3-0 decision to Eastern Washington by sets of 25-14, 25-21, and 25-23. NAU fell behind 2-0 after Eastern Washington came out hitting .325 as a team in the first two sets. The Lumberjacks hit .032 in the first and second set. NAU was down early in the third set but battled back to take a 20-15 lead. The Eagles would answer with a 10-3 run to end the set sealing the match. Sophomore Kelli Dallmann turned in her third consecutive double-double with 26 assists and 14 digs. Freshman Niki Small and sophomore Lexi Sullivan led NAU in kills with nine a piece. Small posted a team-high .250 hitting percentage. Sophomore Anna Gott added 23 digs or 7.67 digs per set, which was a season-best. The Lumberjacks finished the match with a .036 hitting percentage compared to Eastern Washington who hit .228 on the night.
Last Saturday: Montana State
Northern Arizona volleyball lost to Portland State, 3-0 by sets of 25-22, 25-23, and 25-16. NAU outhit Portland State in the opening set .242 to .125 but were unable to hold a lead at any point in the first. In the second set, the Lumberjacks once again outhit Portland State combining for a .167 hitting percentage while the Vikings hit .152 in the set. NAU led for the majority of the second holding a 23-19 lead before Portland State put together a 6-0 run to clinch the set. Despite being down 2-0, NAU refused to quit taking a quick 7-1 lead in the third set. Portland State answered with an 11-1 run and pulling ahead 16-10. The Vikings would hold its lead for the remainder of the set, clinching the match in three sets. Junior Kobi Christensen led NAU with 14 kills. Kelli Dallmann's three-match streak of double-doubles was snapped but the sophomore setter collected 26 assists and eight digs on Saturday. Freshman Kelly Stevenson posted a career-high 15 digs.
Niki Small totaled 14 kills this weekend and hit .250 against Eastern Washington and .312, both match highs. The freshman middle blocker has posted a hitting percentage over .300 nine times this year and over .200 12 times.
Last Away Match
Keely Stevenson turned in a career and match-high 15 digs (5 dps) against Portland State last Saturday. The freshman defensive specialist has appeared in every match this season for the Lumberjacks.
Holding Strong at Home
The Lumberjacks have amassed a 5-1 record at home this fall, the second most wins of any team in the Big Sky Conference. NAU's only defeat came against Montana on Thursday, October 7.
Class in Session
Freshman Niki Small, sophomores Kelli Dallmann and Anna Gott lead their respective classes in the Big Sky Conference's offensive categories. Small leads all freshman with a .267 hitting percentage, Dallmann leads all sophomores with 9.71 assists per set and Gott leads all sophomores with 4.38 digs per set.
Kelli Dallmann is one of six players in the Big Sky Conference this season to have eight or more double doubles. The sophomore setter had her three-match double-double streak snapped against Montana and Montana State this past week.
Big Sky Leaders
Five Lumberjacks rank among the top statistical leaders in the Big Sky Conference. Sophomore Kelli Dallmann is first in the conference with 9.71 assists per set. Sophomore Anna Gott is fourth in the league with 4.38 digs per set and sixth in the Big Sky with 0.33 service aces per set. Freshman Niki Small is sixth in hitting percentage at .267 and freshman Keely Stevenson is 10th with 0.25 service aces per set. Junior Kobi Christensen is 10th in kills per set with 2.76.
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.
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.