FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona women’s volleyball opens the 2009 season this weekend in Boise, Idaho at the Boise State Bronco Invitational with three scheduled matches. The Lumberjacks will play on Friday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. and twice on Saturday, Aug. 29 with matches against Cal State Northridge at 9 a.m. and Tulsa at 4 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 28 - 5 p.m. - Cal State Northridge vs. Tulsa
Fri., Aug. 28 - 7 p.m. - Boise State vs. NAU
Sat., Aug. 29 - 10 a.m. - NAU vs. Cal State Northridge
Sat., Aug. 29 - 12 p.m. - Boise State vs. Tulsa
Sat., Aug. 29 - 5 p.m. - NAU vs. Tulsa
Sat., Aug. 29 - 7 p.m. - Boise State vs. Cal State Northridge
Live Stats and Webcast
Live volleyball stats and webcast will be available for all three of NAU's matches this weekend through the following link: Boise State Live Events. Fans can register for a monthly fee of $9.95 to view Lumberjack matches. Live Stats will be available here: Live Stats.
Building a Tradition
Head coach Craig Choate begins his second-year at NAU after leading the Lumberjacks to a 15-10 record in 2008. Choate became only the third NAU coach to post a winning record in an inaugural season. Also, the Lumberjacks 15 wins were the most recorded since the 2001 season under head coach Kelley Sliva.
In 2008, the volleyball team started the season 8-1 in its three non-conference tournaments, winning the team title at all three. At its two home tournaments, the Hilton Garden Inn Invitational and annual Fiesta Bowl, the team was a perfect 6-0.
Since joining the NCAA as a Division I sponsored-sport in 1987, the Lumberjacks have gone 10-12 in season openers and hold a three-match win streak in the last three contests dating back to 2006.
NAU holds an 8-11 record in 19 matches against the Boise State. The Broncos defeated the Lumberjacks in their last meeting (3-0) in Flagstaff, Ariz., in 2006. NAU has faced Cal State Northridge 18 times and maintains a 10-8 edge with their last match coming in 2000, a 3-2 loss for the Lumberjacks. Tulsa has matched up against NAU once, a match which resulted in a 3-0 victory for the Golden Hurricane.
Sullivan Breaks Out
Freshman volleyball player Lexi Sullivan tallied a team-high 4.31 kills per set to rank 25th among all players in NCAA Division I, and was the only freshman to rank among the top 50. She earned Big Sky Freshman of the Year as well as All-Big Sky Honorable Mention honors.
Brittany Stowers, the Big Sky Libero of the Year as well as an All-Big Sky First Team selection, recorded 6.32 digs per set to rank second among all players in NCAA Division I. Her 52 digs in a four-set win at Green Bay set new Big Sky and school records for a single match.
Boise State (9-19 in 2008)
The Broncos enter the 2009 season under first-year head coach Shawn Garus. Boise State finished the 2008 year 9-19 overall and 5-11, 7th place, in the Western Athletic Conference. The Broncos return eight with playing experience and three starters including Sadie Maughan who earned All-WAC second team honors as a sophomore.
Players to watch for Boise State:
Sadie Maughan, 6-3, MB, Jr. (1.04 bpg, 2.15 kpg)
Alisha Young, 6-2, OH, Jr. (2.18 kpg, 1.60 dpg)
Lauren Hamm, 5-9, L/DS, Jr. (3.49 dpg, 24 service aces)
Cal State Northridge (9-21 in 2008)
Former Big Sky member Cal State Northridge finished the 2008 season with a 9-21 record and an eighth place finish in the Big West Conference. Eighth-year head coach Jeff Stork returns the bulk of his young roster which includes eight letterwinners and five starters. The Matadors will look to build upon a 6-8 non-conference record last fall.
Players to watch Cal State Northridge:
Angela Hupp, 6-1, OH, Jr. (2.86 kpg, 2.19 dpg)
Sam Orlandini, 5-9, S, So. (9.74 apg, 1.95 dpg)
Lynda Morales, 6-2, MB, So. (1.64 kpg, .233 H%)
Tulsa (22-11 in 2008)
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane will look to top its 22 win season from a year ago and a fifth place finish (8-8) in Conference USA. Led by fourth-year head coach Ed Allen who holds a 76-27 record at Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane welcome back six letterwinners and four starters. The group includes C-USA Newcomer of the Year and C-USA second team selection Jennifer Eichler and C-USA All-Freshman teamer Rachel Vukson.
Players to watch for Tulsa:
Jennifer Eichler, 5-10, OH, So. (3.15 kpg, .276 H%)
Rachel Vukson, 6-1, S, So. (10.49 apg, 1.90 dpg)
Julia Kenealy, 6-2, MB, Sr. (1.02 bpg, 1.59 kpg)