Opponent: Portland State (Thursday, Oct. 13/7:00 p.m.)
Opponent: Sacramento State (Saturday, Oct. 15/12:00 p.m.)
Location: Flagstaff, Ariz. - Rolle Activity Center
Live Stats: www.nauathletics.com
Video (Both matches): watchbigsky.com
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Pivotal division matches await the Northern Arizona volleyball team in the Rolle Activity Center this week to open up their longest homestand of the season. On Thursday, NAU hosts Portland State at 7 p.m. to kick off Homecoming Week on campus. NAU then hosts Sacramento State at 12 p.m. in a showdown between Big Sky South Division co-leaders on Saturday. The two matches will be the first half of a four-match homestand.
Ken Murphy's Sound Bite: "Last week gives us a really great chance to refocus and get back to the things that we do well. I'm hoping that we learn that we need to be the best version of ourselves we can be every day. It's normal for a team to go through a season and have ups and downs. The really good teams learn from those experiences and we're looking forward to growing this week and becoming a better team."
Promotions: This week's matches will be the second and third of NAU's #LouieLegit spirit contest culminating with the Oct. 20 match versus Montana State. On Thursday's Breast Cancer Awareness match, the first 250 students will receive a foam axe in addition to pink ribbons for all fans. All fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of NAU's annual Breast Cancer Awareness match. On Saturday, NAU is hosting a Homecoming Gold Out Flannel Day. All fans should come in gold and flannel with the first 250 fans will receive a gold NAU t-shirt. The foam axe and gold t-shirt will accompany the Lumberjack headband given out during the previous homestand.
TV: Thursday's match will be televised live by NAU-TV and shown live on local Flagstaff cable on Suddenlink channels 4 and 104. It will be broadcasted live on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox College Sports Atlantic. Check your local listings for channel information.
Previewing The 'Jacks: NAU enters the midway point of the Big Sky schedule at 15-4 overall and 5-1 conference record. The Lumberjacks dropped their first Big Sky match last Thursday at Eastern Washington, but responded with a win at Idaho on Saturday that went the five-set distance. The Lumberjacks had a season-high four players record double-figure kills against Idaho, led by senior Lauren Jacobsen who continues to rank second in the conference with 4.37 kills per set. The 'Jacks also received career-high totals from redshirt sophomore Kaylie Jorgenson (12) and freshman Abby Akin (11) as well as 11 kills from senior Addy Lofstedt. Senior Jensen Barton leads the Big Sky in hitting percentage at .384 and is joined in the top 10 by Akin in third (.356) and Lofstedt in eighth (.313). In Big Sky play, NAU's hitting percentage sits at .247 while its ace average is 1.74, while the 'Jacks have excelled in the back row with 17.61 digs per set - good for third in the conference.
The Portland State Scout: Portland State have dropped its last three matches and is 2-4 in conference heading into the week. The Vikings, picked seventh in the preseason poll, are 10-8 after road losses at Northern Colorado and North Dakota last week. Pati Anae is the Big Sky's leader in kills and points at 4.43 and 5.04 per set respectively. She has five matches this season with at least 20 kills. Erin Clark sets the offense and is second in the conference with 10.53 assists per set. Portland State is one of the top offensive teams in the conference, ranking second in kills with 13.50 per set. The Vikings also rank third in service aces at 1.41 per set.
The Sacramento State Scout: Sacramento State is one of three teams with a 5-1 Big Sky mark following a split of its road trip to North Dakota and Northern Colorado last week. After the Hornets fell in five sets to UND, they defeated Northern Colorado in four sets. They were picked fifth in the preseason poll and are 11-9 overall. Shannon Boyle ranks fourth in the conference in kills at 3.62 per set. Kennedy Kurtz once again leads the Big Sky in assists with 11.29 per set, and ranks second nationally with 847 assists. The Hornets impress both offensively and defensively with a Big Sky leading 13.91 kills per set as well as ranking second in digs as a team at 16.68 per set. Sacramento State also ranks second nationally in team attacks per set at just under 40 per game.
- NAU and Portland State will be meeting for the 41st time in school history. NAU leads the all-time series 21-19. NAU won both meetings last season including the last meeting, 3-1, on Nov. 14, 2015 in Flagstaff.
- NAU and Sacramento State will be meeting for the 49th time in school history. SAC leads the all-time series 33-15. NAU won two of three meetings last season including the last meeting, 3-0, on Nov. 20, 2015 in Flagstaff.
NAU Quick Sets:
- NAU's 21-match win streak against Big Sky opponents was snapped last Thursday with its loss at Eastern Washington. Overall dating back to last season, the Lumberjacks have won 23 of their last 25 matches against conference foes.
- NAU currently holds the second-longest home winning streak in the country at 21 victories dating back to Oct. 30, 2014, its last loss in the Rolle Activity Center to Idaho State. Minnesota holds the longest active home winning streak at 25 matches.
- The Lumberjacks moved up two spots in the NCAA RPI rankings to No. 125 this week. They are third among Big Sky teams.
- The 'Jacks lead the country in total aces (148) and rank third in aces per set (2.03).
- Jacobsen is approaching both the 1,000 kill and 1,000 dig mark. She is currently at 924 career kills and 911 career digs and is closing in on becoming the sixth player in program history to join the 1,000/1,000 club.
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