Opponent: Idaho State (Thursday, Sept. 29/7:00 p.m.)
Opponent: Weber State (Saturday, Oct. 1/3:00 p.m.)
Location: Flagstaff, Ariz. - Rolle Activity Center
Live Stats: www.nauathletics.com
Video (Both matches): watchbigsky.com
Audio (ISU match only): kjackradio.com (KJACK 107.1 FM)
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Northern Arizona volleyball team returns to the Rolle Activity Center for their first two home conference matches of the season, Thursday versus Idaho State at 7 p.m. and Saturday versus Weber State at 3 p.m. NAU, 12-3 overall and 2-0 in the Big Sky, is one of three undefeated teams in conference after the first weekend of Big Sky play.
Ken Murphy's Sound Bite: "We have two really great challenges ahead of us. Both of these programs are experiencing success winning matches this season. For our team, we want to keep moving forward. Last weekend we got a little more offensive distribution and that's helping us get better. We got dialed in on our defense a little tighter and we're looking to expand on that and perform well against both of these tough opponents."
Promotions: Thursday's match will be themed 80's Fitness Night. All fans are encouraged to wear their best 80's workout gear with the first 250 students receiving a free NAU Lumberjacks headband. The headband will be the first of four giveaways during NAU's #LouieLegit spirit contest on Oct. 20. On Saturday, NAU will host "Blue Out at the Beach" with all fans encouraged to wear blue. The first 250 fans will receive a free blue and gold lei. Saturday is also the team's Faculty Appreciation Day with all NAU faculty and staff receiving a discounted $3 ticket using the promo code FAC when purchasing tickets online.
TV: Both of this week's matches will be televised live by NAU-TV and shown live on local Flagstaff cable on Suddenlink channels 4 and 104. Thursday's match will be broadcasted live on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox College Sports Pacific, while Saturday's match will be shown live on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and Fox College Sports Pacific. Check your local listings for channel information.
Previewing The 'Jacks: NAU opens up conference play at home this coming off a perfect 2-0 start to the Big Sky schedule last week with wins at Northern Colorado and Southern Utah. NAU improved to 12-3 overall this season and posted its third 2-0 start to conference play in the last four seasons. Senior Jensen Barton distributed the ball across the board as NAU received outstanding balance behind senior Lauren Jacobsen's team-high 34 kills last weekend. Jacobsen - who averages a team-high 4.49 kills per set for the season - was balanced out by an attack in which five players totaled at least 10 kills over the opening weekend of conference play. In the win at Southern Utah, NAU posted a its second-best blocking performance of the season, recording 13.0 blocks in the sweep. Redshirt sophomore Brittni Dorsey (eight) and Barton (seven) both came up a block shy of matching their personal career-bests. Through the opening weekend of conference play, NAU leads the Big Sky in hitting percentage (.286), opponent hitting percentage (.142), and assists (13.14 per set), and rank second in blocks (2.57 per set) and aces (1.71 per set).
The Idaho State Scout: Idaho State, a Big Sky tournament finalist last season, dropped both of its Big Sky opening matches last weekend at home to Portland State and Sacramento State. The Bengals are 5-10 overall and were picked fourth in the preseason poll.The Bengals have a pair of players - Chloe Hirst at 3.69 per set and Abby Jensen at 3.30 per set - in the top five of the conference in kills per set. Hayley Farrer, a 2015 All-Big Sky First Team performer, is the team's setter and ranks sixth in the conference with 9.98 assists per set. Idaho State ranks fourth in the conference as a team with 16.05 digs per set. The Bengals are hitting .193 for the season.
The Weber State Scout: Weber State was one of five remaining unbeaten teams in the country before losing its Big Sky opener to Sacramento State. The Wildcats, voted ninth in the preseason poll, rebounded to defeat Portland State and are now 10-1 this season after splitting its first conference weekend. Weber State's top attacker has been Amanda Varley, who ranks seventh in the conference in kills at 3.24 per set. The Wildcats have been one of the NCAA's top defensive teams with Megan Thompson leading the country in blocks at 1.95 per set and Jesse Hover ranking 14th in digs at 5.32 per set. Both players lead the conference in their respective categories.Overall, Weber State ranks fourth as a team in blocks per set at 3.32 and seventh in opponent hitting percentage at .132 nationally. Both marks also are tops in the Big Sky.
- NAU and Idaho State will be meeting for the 70th time in school history. ISU leads the all-time series 37-32. NAU won all three meetings last season including the last meeting, 3-0, on Nov. 21, 2015 in Flagstaff.
- NAU and Weber State will be meeting for the 72nd time in school history. NAU leads the all-time series 42-29. NAU won both meetings last season including the last meeting, 3-1, on Oct. 31, 2015 in Ogden.
NAU Quick Sets:
- The Lumberjacks have won 16 consecutive Big Sky regular season matches and 19 straight matches against conference foes overall. NAU's last loss to a Big Sky team was at Sacramento State on Sept. 26, 2015.
- NAU is currently riding a school record 19-match home win streak dating back to Oct. 30, 2014, its last loss in the Rolle Activity Center to Idaho State.
- The 'Jacks are third nationally in total aces (120), fourth in aces per set (2.11), 13th in hitting percentage (.292) and 20th in opponent hitting percentage (.151).
- Dorsey ranks fourth in the country in both aces (32) and aces per set (0.64). Jacobsen ranks 13th in both kills (256) and kills per set (4.49).
- Barton ranks 25th nationally in hitting percentage (.401) and assists (565), while freshman Abby Akin ranks 29th with 71 blocks.
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