FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona volleyball posted its
first victory at the 2009 Fiesta Bowl Tournament with a 3-0 sweep
over The Citadel on Saturday at the Rolle Activity Center. Lauren
Campbell and Kobi Christensen combined for 22 kills to lead NAU to
its third win on the season. In Saturday’s second match, the
Lumberjacks fell 3-1 to tournament champion Utah State.
NAU (3-6) collected its first 3-0 win of the year defeating The Citadel (1-9) by scores of 25-16, 25-19, and 25-15. The Lumberjacks hit a season-high .349 for the match.
With Lexi Sullivan sidelined, Christensen emerged with a season-high 20 attacks and nine kills playing extended time on Saturday. Campbell led all players with 13 kills and a .444 hitting percentage and picked up all-tournament honors for the second time this season. Anna Gott was selected the tournament's top libero averaging 15 digs per match.
After a 3-2 defeat to Wyoming (6-3) on Friday night, the Lumberjacks were forced to play Saturday’s matches without two starters in Sullivan and setter Jana Mays-Robinson who played sparingly throughout Saturday’s matches.
“We have a really deep bench and everyone is stepping up and doing their part,” Christensen said. “Our freshmen are strong and played awesome. We started off a little shaky, but we all got our confidence back and started ripping it. Once we got comfortable, we did a great job the rest of the way.”
Playing for its 11th Fiesta Bowl tournament title, the Lumberjacks faced Utah State (6-3) who had defeated Wyoming (3-1) and The Citadel (3-0) prior to Saturday's final. NAU fell behind 2-0 due to the strong play of tournament Most Valuable Player Liz McArthur who posted 23 kills and a .386 hitting percentage.
The Lumberjacks continued to show their ability to bounce back from early deficits picking up the third set and forcing Utah State to put the Lumberjacks away in the fourth or a potential fifth set. McArthur, all-tournament selections Chelsea Fowles and Shantell Durrant, and the rest of the Aggie rotation proved to be too much for a depleted NAU lineup.
Utah State closed out the match in the fourth set posting scores of 25-18, 25-16, 18-25, and 25-19.
NAU relied on its reserves and finished the Fiesta Bowl Tournament with a 1-2 record and a third place finish—the Lumberjacks’ third consecutive third place finish in as many tournaments to open the 2009 season.
“I think we played real well,” said Gott who totaled a tournament-high 23 digs against Wyoming. “We started slow in both matches today and yesterday, but we really showed our heart fighting back.”
The Lumberjacks have completed their non-conference schedule and will open Big Sky Conference play on Thursday, Sept. 17 at home against Idaho State at 7 p.m. in the Rolle Activity Center.
2009 Fiesta Bowl All-Tournament Team
MVP: Liz McArthur, Utah State
Libero: Anna Gott, NAU
Chelsea Fowles, Utah State
Shantell Durrant, Utah State
Dani Bedore, Wyoming
JennaRae Jester, Wyoming
Lauren Campbell, NAU
Jessica Maas, The Citadel