FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona won the first set and had a 19-11 lead in the second set, but Portland State rallied back to win the second as well as sets three and four to post a 3-1 victory on Saturday night in Rolle Activity Center (23-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-20). The Lumberjacks dropped to 6-7 in the Big Sky and 15-7 overall, while Portland State kept pace atop the Big Sky standings and improved to 10-4 in conference play and 14-12 overall.
"We were hitting pretty good but then our passing went south," said NAU head coach Craig Choate. "This is a match that we had and completely gave it away to a very good team in our conference. We're ready and confident but there's this little hump we have to get over to beat the upper half of the conference."
The Lumberjacks opened the match strong, hitting a match-best .200 in the opening set. Junior Lexi Sullivan hit .500 with five kills and junior Lauren Campbell had four kills in the first stanza, as NAU led for most of the set. Portland State withstood four set points down 24-19, but NAU closed with a kill by Campbell to take a 25-23 win.
After Portland State took a 3-0 lead to begin the second set, NAU rallied back to even the set at 4-4 and then went on a 15-7 run to open up a commanding 19-11 advantage. It was there that the match turned, as Portland State won 12 consecutive points to take a 23-19 lead. With a 24-21 advantage, the Vikings got a kill from sophomore Garyn Schlatter, her fifth of the set to go with seven assists, to even the match at 1-1.
The Vikings continued their momentum after the intermission, benefiting from six team blocks and three NAU service errors to win the third set, 25-23, despite hitting only .053. In the fourth, Portland State hit a match best .214 with 17 kills and prevented NAU from having a single lead in the set to clinch the match victory.
Portland State totaled 16 team blocks, with Big Sky blocks leader Katie O'Brien recording 11, while NAU had 11 blocks for the match. The Vikings outhit the Lumberjacks .147 to .132, recording 57 kills to 48 for NAU. Sullivan finished with 18 kills and four blocks, while freshmanSydney Kemper finished with 10 kills and four blocks. Junior setter Kelli Dallmann had another superb night, recording a career-high seven blocks to go with 42 assists, 11 digs, three kills, and a service ace. Junior libero Anna Gott led all players with 18 digs, while NAU junior Jen Wilson and freshman Kalee Kirby also reached double-digits in digs.
NAU plays its final regular season road matches next weekend, beginning play at Weber State next Friday, Nov. 11, at 6 p.m.