USAFA, Colo. – Senior Kobi Christensen had 16 kills and 11 digs and junior Kelli Dallmann posted 42 assists and 15 digs as NAU overcame a slow start to defeat South Carolina Upstate, 3-1, on the opening day of the Air Force Falcon Invitational (22-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-11). The Lumberjacks also received a season high 25 digs from junior Anna Gott, remaining undefeated at 7-0 while SC Upstate dropped to 2-5.
"They came out really fired up and we were a bit lethargic," said head coach Craig Choate. "We started to dig down, and about half way through the third set the girls realized they were back on track and you could see the confidence come back."
NAU and SC Upstate were tied at 12-12 in the first set before the Spartans went on a 9-2 run to open up a 21-14 advantage and held on late for a 25-22 first set win. After NAU jumped to an 11-5 lead in the second set, SC Upstate fought back and got within two points at 23-21. Consecutive errors by the Spartans, however, gave NAU the set and squared the match at 1-1.
The Lumberjacks would take over the match following the intermission, using a 13-5 run midway through the third set to extend to a 17-9 lead. Backed by 13 assists, two kills and one block in the set by Dallmann, NAU scored an easy 25-16 win to take a 2-1 lead. NAU was even more dominant in the fourth set, hitting .353 while limiting the Spartans to a .000 hitting percentage in cruising to a 25-11 set victory and a 3-1 win.
After hitting .000 and .073 in the first and second set, respectively, NAU hit .289 in the third set and .353 in the fourth set to pull away for the victory. NAU totaled 12 team blocks for the match, led by five blocks from senior Katie Bailey. Freshman Kalee Kirby recorded a career high 17 digs, and junior Jen Wilson added 15 kills while hitting .312.
The Lumberjacks continue play at the Falcon Invitational with a pair of matches on Saturday, facing Utah Valley, which NAU defeated, 3-1, in a tight match earlier this season, at noon before meeting tournament host Air Force at 6 p.m.