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Volleyball Goes the Distance Against Eastern Washington, Picks Up 3-2 Win

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona volleyball pulled out a 3-2 victory over Eastern Washington in the Rolle Activity Center on Saturday.  Four Lumberjacks totaled double digits in kills led by Lexi Sullivan's 21.  NAU won the match by sets of 22-25, 26-24, 26-28, 25-20, and 15-11.

"You need to have matches like this in order to get things going in the right direction," said head coach Craig Choate.  "They out dug us.  They out hit us.  They definitely out blocked us and we won.  It shows you that there is more to stat sheets.  We played well as a team tonight and had some big performances from a number of players."

Sullivan posted a team-high .351 hitting percentage converting 21-of-37 attacks.  Lauren Campbell turned in 16 kills while Niki Small chipped in 12 kills and Chelsea Cheeley added 11.  The Lumberjacks posted a .231 hitting percentage as a team.

NAU (10-15, 6-9 BSC) played behind the entire match, fighting back from 1-0 and 2-1 Eastern Washington leads.  In the opening set, the Lumberjacks played well but could not solve an Eagles' attack that hit .464 in the first frame. 

The Lumberjacks answered back holding a small lead for most of the second set.  The women were able to withstand ties at 23-23 and 24-24 escaping a 2-0 deficit and entered the third set tied 1-1.  Eastern Washington and NAU battled to extra points in the third set after the Lumberjacks denied the Eagles four times at set point.

"Even though we lost the third set we showed some determination and I think that carried over into the fourth set," Choate said.

In the fourth set, NAU was down 10-3 but an 11-0 run changed the momentum of the match.  The women cruised to a five-point win forcing a fifth and deciding set.  NAU trailed just once in the fifth, 2-1, as the set was close throughout.  Five consecutive attacking errors from Eastern Washington broke a 6-6 tie and the Lumberjacks held off the Eagles for a four-point win.

"We were kind of nervous going into that last set because you never know how it will turn out," said Cheeley.  "Our defense did amazing tonight and helped set up our offense.  The team really stepped up and played well tonight."

Kelli Dallmann put up a career-best 61 assists and narrowly missed her 13th double-double of the season finishing with nine digs. 

NAU plays next Saturday against Northern Colorado in the last regular season match of the 2010 season.   Northern Colorado is tied with Portland State for first place in the Big Sky Conference standings.

DID YOU KNOW… The Northern Arizona women's soccer team has advanced to the NCAA Women's College Cup each of the last two seasons, winning back-to-back Big Sky Conference Tournament titles.

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