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Volleyball Falls to Montana 3-0, Mays-Robinson Recognized on Senior Night

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Senior setter Jana Mays-Robinson played in her final home match at the Rolle Activity Center on Saturday night recording 11 assists and seven digs in Northern Arizona volleyball’s 3-0 loss to Montana. The Lumberjacks, positioned in sixth place in the Big Sky Conference standings, could have gained a full game on the fourth-place Grizzlies, but were defeated in straight sets by scores of 25-14, 25-18, and 25-23.

“They are not used to important matches,” said head coach Craig Choate of Saturday’s performance. “It is different for them. But we talk about this all the time: go out there and play. It is just volleyball at the end of the night. They get it intellectually but can’t incorporate it yet.”

NAU (8-14, 5-8 BSC) needed a win over Montana (11-13, 7-6 BSC) to stay in the Big Sky race, but with tonight’s loss, the chances of advancing to the postseason seem even more difficult now with the Lumberjacks already having to play away matches against the league’s top three teams in Portland State, Eastern Washington, and Northern Colorado.

“We need to keep going 100 percent in practice and not think about where they are ranked,” said Mays-Robinson. “We need to take each game as it comes and play point-by-point all the way to the end.”

The Lumberjacks did play every last point on Saturday and looked poised to force a fourth set after playing tight in the opening two. NAU held the edge in a back-and-forth third set, but with the score knotted at 21, gave up three straight points. The Lumberjacks rejected two match-points before succumbing to a game-ending kill by Montana's Whitney Hobbs that nearly stayed in play for what would have been an NAU block that would have forced a third-match point attempt for the Grizzlies.

“We came out strong and ready to play,” said Mays-Robinson of the NAU effort in the third. “We should have come out like that in game one. Towards the end I thought we hung right with them, but being the last home game and playing against a team with the best hitter in the league, it is going to be shaky for anyone. We know we can play with these teams. We just need to keep our confidence up.”

Mays-Robinson has set for the Lumberjacks the past two seasons and will finish her career on the road over the next two weekends. The Lumberjacks play at Portland State and Eastern Washington on Friday, November 13 and Saturday November 14, respectively. NAU likely needs to win its final three matches and have Montana and Sacramento State, positioned in fifth place, lose several matches.

“All I can do is keep encouraging them from the court and on the bench,” added Mays-Robinson. “I want them to stay positive. We have the top three teams coming up too. We will have to look past this one and get ready for Portland State.”