BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The Northern Arizona volleyball team had no interest in playing extended time on the court in their Roadrunner Classic finale against San Francisco after three consecutive five-set matches. Instead, the Lumberjacks cruised by the Dons for a clean sweep, 25-16, 25-16, 25-17, and will head into conference play next week with a 10-3 record.
"Today was an accumulation of the hard work our team has put in," said head coach Ken Murphy. "Our two matches today were among the most complete we've played and I'm so proud of our progress that we've made as a team. We're starting to see what we're capable of."
Senior Lauren Jacobsen led the Lumberjacks' blitzing of the Dons with 19 kills on .515 hitting and she fired away from the match's first point. Jacobsen repeatedly found the court with 10 first set kills to set the tone of the match.
NAU never trailed during the entirety of the match and in fact was only tied once – at 1-1 in the second set. Jacobsen contributed three kills and senior Jensen Barton added an ace as NAU scored four of the first five points of the match and used a four-point run to really distance itself from San Francisco at 18-10 in running away with the opening game.
Redshirt sophomore Brittni Dorsey – who hit a career-best .778 with seven kills on nine swings without an error – put down two kills and notched an ace during an 11-4 Lumberjack start to the second set. After the Dons put together a run of their own to close the gap to 17-14, the 'Jacks put the set away with a 6-0 strike capped by two aces from sophomore Jordan Anderson.
NAU left little doubt in the third set immediately surging out to a 9-2 lead and held a lead as large as 11 points. San Francisco strung a comeback effort late with a 5-0 run that sliced its deficit in half to 20-15, only for Dorsey and freshman Sydney Lema to cut off any hope with consecutive kills. Lema notched NAU's ninth service ace on match point to seal up the Lumberjacks' eighth win in nine matches to close non-conference play.
Jacobsen and Dorsey were far from the only effective Lumberjack attackers as Barton and Lofstedt hit .625 and .357 respectively. Barton ran the offense to near perfection recording 35 assists and setting NAU to a .429 team hitting percentage.
"We trusted our offense and were hitting shots that we execute in practice," Murphy said. "We were a little more aggressive in the things that we always do and that was the biggest difference."
Defensively, Dorsey led the team with three blocks, while Barton, Lofstedt and freshman Abby Akin all posted two stuffs. Anderson recorded a match-high 15 digs as San Francisco was only able to muster up a .121 hitting percentage.
The Lumberjacks will open up the Big Sky schedule on the road next week with Northern Colorado at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The conference opener will mark a matchup between the top two teams in the Preseason Big Sky Coaches Poll. NAU will also travel to Southern Utah next Saturday for a 12 p.m. match. Both times are local to Flagstaff.