FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern
Arizona volleyball travels to Weber State and Idaho State this
weekend with matches scheduled for Friday, October, 30 and
Saturday, October 31 both with 6 p.m. start times. The Lumberjacks
defeated Weber State (3-1) earlier in the year at home but fell
later that same weekend to Idaho State (3-1).
“I think we can beat both teams but it won’t be easy,” said head coach Craig Choate. “We talked about how the window could open against Sacramento State and we didn’t do it. It was disappointing after Thursday’s match. The girls were down. But Montana State beat Montana this past weekend. If we win two and Montana loses two, we are in a tie for fourth place.
Fourth place is everything. If you are not winning all your matches you have to find some things to hang on to. I think it is going to be a hard weekend but we still have a chance. If they can’t get up for this we are in trouble.”
NAU (6-12, 3-6 BSC) dropped an important 3-1 decision to Sacramento State on Thursday, but the Big Sky Conference is far from locked up. The Lumberjacks are currently in sixth place and this weekend’s matches will likely determine whether the postseason is a real possibility.
“We got lucky with Montana State and the window is open again,” Choate said of Montana State’s upset win over Montana. “The problem is our matches are on the road against good teams at home. Weber is a good team at home. It is Halloween the night of Idaho State so that will be a circus.”
NAU plays Weber State (5-17, 3-7 BSC) on Friday, October 30 after defeating the Wildcats earlier this year at home.
Following Friday’s contest, NAU immediately travels to Idaho State (9-13, 3-7 BSC) on Saturday, October 31. The Idaho State match in September marked the last appearance for the Lumberjacks’ star outside hitter Lexi Sullivan who left after the second set with a season-ending injury.
“We are playing incredibly hard,” said Choate. “We are not flat. But we are freshmen and make mistakes. We serve out when we are over 20 points. We hit long instead of hitting it into the court and letting it get blocked or dug. This is stuff we will grow out of eventually.”
The Lumberjacks are 2-4 on the road this year and 1-2 in conference play. NAU beat Montana State 3-0 in Bozeman in their first Big Sky road win.
Live Stats and Webcast
For this weekend's matches live stats will be available through www.isubengals.com on Friday and www.weberstatesports.com on Saturday. Click these links to be redirected to Idaho State’s Live Stats and Weber State’s Live Stats. Select the specific game and the link to live stats will appear. A free webcast will be available through Big Sky TV at www.bigskytv.org. Click the previous link and follow instructions to register.
Big Sky Three Dot
The race for the Big Sky title is closing in with only four weeks remaining in the regular season ... NAU and Northern Colorado are back on the road this week ... The Wildcats and the Bengals are back home and will be hosting the Lumberjacks and the Bears on Friday and Saturday ...Montana State picked up its first conference win in a big way last week. The Bobcats upset longtime rival, and fourth-place team, Montana on Friday night in Missoula, Mont. It snapped a 44-match conference losing streak and was the Bobcats’ first conference victory since the 2006 season ... Eastern Washington’s Ashley Hamilton tied an NCAA single-match record, and broke a Big Sky record, on Friday. The junior setter hit a perfect 12-of-12 from the floor to set the mark ... Northern Colorado also kept some streaks alive last week. The Bears beat Air Force for the second time this season, and fifth in a row on Tuesday. They closed out the week with their sixth-straight win over the Hornets at home ... The Eagles, Vikings and Bears are still tied atop of the standings with just two losses ... This week features Portland State at Montana on Friday in a key matchup, while Eastern Washington plays the Grizzlies on Saturday ... The Bobcats will also be looking for their second win, or upset, of the conference season against the No. 1 teams ... Sacramento State takes on non-conference opponent Pacific on Tuesday evening in its only match of the week.
The NAU Lumberjacks are currently in sixth place in the Big Sky Conference with seven conference matches remaining on the schedule. With the exception of Sacramento State, the Lumberjacks still have to play the rest of the Big Sky Conference and have an opportunity to return to the conference championships for the 14th time in school history.
Against Sacramento State
The Lumberjacks dropped 3-1 decision to the Hornets, a match closer than the score indicated. NAU led every set past the 15th point except the first, but were unable to close out sets. Kobi Christensen recorded a team high 15 kills hitting .300 for the match while Kelli Dallmann posted her seventh double-double with 21 assist and 13 kills hitting a career-high .476.
NAU Upsets Eastern Washington
The Lumberjacks defeated first place Eastern Washington 3-2 on Thursday night after winning the first two sets, dropping the next two, but picking up the victory in the fifth set. Sophomore Kobi Christensen paced the Lumberjacks with a career-high 17 kills and .286 hitting percentage. Kelli Dallman recorded a double-double with 24 assists and 14 digs.
Sign of Things to Come
NAU has hit .171 as a team for the 2009 season. In their last three matches, the Lumberjacks continue to show the improvements of a young team coming together. Despite a 1-2 record, NAU has hit a combined .202 in its last three matches. In their last road match at Montana State, NAU posted a hitting percentage of .319, its second-highest total on the year and highest away from Flagstaff.
The Lumberjacks moved to 30-26 all-time against Weber State snapping a three-match losing streak. The Lumberjacks are 26-27 all-time against Idaho State. The Bengal’s win earlier this fall snapped a five-straight win streak for NAU.
NAU has at least one player in the top 10 in five of the seven statistical categories within the Big Sky Conference during league play. Freshman Anna Gott is sixth in digs (4.18 dpg) and service aces (0.32 sapg). Jana Mays-Robinson sits eighth in assists (6.72 apg). Redshirt freshman Ashley Ames ranks eighth in hitting percentage (.293).
Dallmann in Rare Company
Freshman Kelli Dallmann is one of two players in Division I Women's volleyball to average two kills, three assists, and two digs per set. Dallmann has shown her versatility this season moving back and forth between outside hitter and setter.
In its match against Northern Colorado, the Lumberjacks welcomed one of their biggest attendance figures in program history with 1,166 spectators. The crowd was aided by Family Weekend and the Northern Colorado football team.
The Young Get Younger
The Northern Arizona volleyball roster consists of 11 freshmen and sophomores. Junior Chelsea Cheeley and senior Jana Mays-Robinson are the only upperclassmen on the 2009 roster. During the conference season, the Lumberjacks have started six freshmen and one sophomores (including freshman libero Anna Gott).
Freshman Kelli Dallmann recorded her first-career triple double and the first for any Lumberjack player this fall. Dallmann, from Peoria, Ariz., collected 17 assists, 14 kills, and 14 digs in a 3-1 loss to Idaho State in the conference opener. Dallmann is second on the team in kills (2.09kpg), assists (2.12 apg) and digs (2.02 dpg).
The Lumberjacks will practice Monday-Wednesday this week from 2-4:30 p.m. in the Rolle Activity Center. Media wishing to attend practice should contact Joe Scacco at 928-523-6330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the history of Northern Arizona volleyball? We're glad you asked. Going back to the old AIAW days, NAU has been a player in women's intercollegiate athletics for 34 years. In its 22 years in the NCAA, NAU has posted nine winning seasons and 15 with double digit wins. The Lumberjacks have reached the postseason 14 of the past 18 years. In 1999, NAU went to the NCAA tournament suffering a 3-0 loss to No. 5 North Carolina.