FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona volleyball plays two matches this week hosting Weber State on Thursday, October 28 and Idaho State on Saturday, October 30. Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m. start times, and Thursday's match against Weber State will be available on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox College Sports.
NAU (7-12, 3-6 BSC) hosts Weber State on Thursday taking part in a local initiative to raise awareness for breast cancer by encouraging all in attendance to wear pink. NAU is currently riding a three-match win streak against the Wildcats. The women defeated Weber State, 3-1, in Ogden, Utah on Sept. 18.
On Saturday, the Lumberjacks play Idaho State and will hold its Club Night at the Rolle Activity Center. The Lumberjacks have dropped their last three matches to the Bengals. The women fell to Idaho State, 3-1 in Pocatello, Idaho on Sept. 17.
Last week, NAU played one match, a 3-2 loss at Sacramento State. The Lumberjacks traded sets with the Hornets but could not close the match in the deciding set. This week, NAU hopes to improve upon its 5-1 record at home, the second best mark in the conference this season.
"The key to this weekend's matches will be to create more offense from the outside," said head coach Craig Choate. "If we do that we will be fine. We are passing and serving well and just need some consistent play in a few other areas."
The Lumberjacks play five of their final seven matches at home. NAU is currently in seventh place in the Big Sky Conference standings.
Northern Arizona volleyball's match against Weber State can be seen live on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox College Sports Pacific with Mitch Stroman and Sharon Falor on the call. For DirecTV subscribers the match is available on channel 686 while Dish Network customers can see the match on channel 415. Fans can also follow the Weber State and Idaho State matches through www.nauathletics.com. Live stats will be provided free of charge and live streaming video is available through Big Sky TV.
Last Friday: Sacramento State
Sophomore Lexi Sullivan totaled 18 kills in Northern Arizona volleyball's 3-2 defeat at Sacramento State. The Lumberjacks fell by sets of 25-22, 12-25, 25-17, 25-16, and 15-13. NAU traded sets with Sacramento State till the fifth, entering the deciding set tied 2-2. Sullivan totaled a season-high in kills finishing with her highest total since the beginning of the 2009-10 season. Freshman Niki Small added 10 kills with a .207 hitting percentage while sophomore Kelli Dallmann posted another double-double with 45 assists and 19 digs. NAU hit .109 as a team on the night and Sacramento State turned in a .210 team hitting percentage. The Hornets had three players finish with double-digit kills led by Kelsey Elston with a team-high 11 kills and .476 hitting percentage.
Kelli Dallmann finished with her ninth double-double of the season in last week's only match at Sacramento State. The sophomore setter totaled 45 assists and 19 digs in NAU's five-set loss.
Last Home Match
Senior Chelsea Cheeley and freshman Niki Small combined for 20 kills in the Lumberjacks' 3-0 win over Montana State. Cheeley turned in nine kills and a .727 hitting percentage while Small totaled 11 kills and a .526 hitting percentage.
Back to Full Strength
Sophomore Lexi Sullivan recently posted a team-high and season-best 18 kills at Sacramento State last week. In the last four NAU matches, Sullivan is leading NAU with 3.00 kills per set. She played her first match in 343 days against Central Arkansas to open the season after suffering a knee injury last fall on September 17 at home against Idaho State. Sullivan received a medical hardship in 2009.
Streaking Through Big Sky
Sophomore Anna Gott has nine consecutive matches with 10 or more digs. The libero from Phoenix, Ariz., has the second longest dig streak in the Big Sky Conference this season. She is fourth in the Big Sky in digs per set this fall. Gott has yet to slip below 10 total digs per match this conference year starting her streak during the Lumberjacks' first league match against Idaho State on Sept. 17.
Kelli Dallmann is one of six players in the Big Sky Conference this season to have nine or more double doubles. The sophomore setter has recorded a double-double in four of the Lumberjacks' last five matches and five of the last seven.
Holding Strong at Home
The Lumberjacks have amassed a 5-1 record at home this fall, the second best winning percentage 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 .262 hitting percentage, Dallmann leads all sophomores with 9.66 assists per set and Gott leads all sophomores with 4.37 digs per set.
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 9.66 assists per set. Sophomore Anna Gott is fourth in the league with 4.37 digs per set and seventh in the Big Sky with 0.28 service aces per set. Freshman Niki Small is sixth in hitting percentage at .267 and freshman Keely Stevenson is ninth with 0.25 service aces per set. Junior Kobi Christensen is 10th in kills per set with 2.67. Senior Chelsea Cheeley is tied for ninth with Stevenson in service aces with 0.25.
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.
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.
Weber State (3-20, 1-9 BSC)
The Wildcats went 1-1 last weekend and won their first Big Sky Conference match of the season with a 3-2 victory over Eastern Washington. Prior to the match, Weber State held a 0-9 record in the league standings. For the year, the Wildcats are hitting .142 while their opponents have turned in a .256 team hitting percentage. Weber State is 0-9 at home this fall and in last place in the conference through 10 matches.
Players to Watch
Bethany Wray 6-0, So., OH (3.20 kps, 1.94 dps)
Kim Lissinna 5-11, Sr., S (7.46 aps, 1.73 dps)
Nina Blake 5-5, Jr., L (3.59 dps, 0.12 saps)
Idaho State (13-10, 5-5 BSC)
The Bengals won three straight Big Sky Conference matches prior to a 3-1 loss to Eastern Washington in its final match last weekend. The Bengals hold a 5-5 mark in the Big Sky and are tied for fourth-place in the conference standings. Idaho State holds a 6-2 record at home, but are 1-7 away from Pocatello this fall. The Bengals have hit .211 for the 2010 season limiting its opponents to a .186 hitting percentage.
Players to Watch
Haylee Thompson-Brock 6-0, Sr., OH (3.41 kps, 1.68 dps)
Britta Bartschi-Rhodehouse 6-0, Sr., MB (2.64 kps, 0.63 bps)
Lori Mendenhall 5-8, So., S (8.74 aps, 2.15 dps)