FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – NAU volleyball visits Northern Colorado this weekend in the Lumberjacks' third away match of the Big Sky Conference season. The women face the Bears on Saturday, October 2 at 6 p.m. at the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. Saturday is the only match this week for the Lumberjacks.
NAU (6-7, 2-1 BSC) is tied with Montana for third place in the Big Sky Conference standings after defeating Sacramento State, 3-0, in its first Big Sky Conference home match of the season at the Rolle Activity Center last Saturday. NAU won by sets of 25-23, 25-21, and 25-21 to stay undefeated at home this fall.
This Saturday, the Lumberjacks travel to Greeley, Colo., facing Northern Colorado (12-3, 3-0 BSC). The Bears are one of two teams still undefeated in league play. Last week, Northern Colorado beat Sacramento State, 3-0, and lost to No. 18 Colorado State, 3-0. The Bears are 7-1 at home this fall.
"Northern Colorado is a good team so we need to be prepared to come out and play our game," said head coach Craig Choate. "This is going to be a good test for us playing one of the better teams in our conference so far this season."
The Lumberjacks are 6-7 all-time against Northern Colorado in a series that dates back to 1974. NAU has lost its last two matches to the Bears.
Big Sky Leaders
Five Lumberjacks rank among the top statistical leaders in the Big Sky Conference. Sophomore Kelli Dallmann is first in the conference with 9.74 assists per set while junior Kobi Christensen is seventh in kills per set with 3.13. Sophomore Anna Gott is fourth in the league with 4.22 digs per set. The Phoenix native is also fourth with 0.35 service aces per set. Freshman Keely Stevenson is sixth with 0.30 service aces per set and freshman Niki Small is fifth in hitting percentage at .281.
Kelli Dallmann helped to keep Northern Arizona's home record clean and led the team to its second conference win of the season on Saturday against the Hornets (3-0). Dallmann produced the match's only double-double with 33 assists and 11 digs. She averaged 11 assists per set and 3.67 digs per set for the game.
Freshman Niki Small, sophomores Kelli Dallmann and Anna Gott, and junior Kobi Christensen lead their respective classes in the Big Sky Conference's offensive categories. Small leads all freshman with a .281 hitting percentage, Dallmann leads all sophomores with 9.74 assists per set, and Christensen leads all juniors with 3.13 kills per set.
The Lumberjacks pushed their home record to 4-0 this year keeping the unbeaten streak alive after defeating Sacramento State, 3-0, on Saturday in the Rolle Activity Center. NAU is one of three teams in the Big Sky Conference to still have an undefeated record at home.
Kelli Dallmann is one of eight players in the Big Sky Conference this season to have five or more double doubles. The sophomore setter picked up her fifth double double on Saturday with 33 assists and 11 digs.
Head Coach Craig Choate won his 300th career match against Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday, September 4. Choate has coached at New Mexico State (1990-93), San Jose State (1993-07), and is in his third year at Northern Arizona. He has amassed a career record of 298-286.
Feasted at Fiesta
Junior outside hitter Kobi Christensen received the Fiesta Bowl Volleyball Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading all players in hitting percentage and kills in each of Northern Arizona's three matches. She totaled 48 kills on 78 attacks over the weekend with only 11 errors. The native of Kelowna, B.C., Canada averaged a .474 hitting percentage with 4.80 kills per set with 1.20 digs per set during the tournament.
Small Only in Name
In her first collegiate tournament, freshman Niki Small earned All-Tournament team honors at the UniWyo Wyoming Invite. Small started all four matches and played in all 15 sets as NAU went 1-3 with a win over Murray State (3-1) and losses to Central Arkansas (3-0), Southern Utah (3-2), and Wyoming (3-0). Small posted a .363 hitting percentage, with 2.47 kills per set. The freshman from Ashland, Ore., also totaled 0.67 blocks per set. She led the team in hitting percentage during the tournament.
Back to Full Strength
Sophomore Lexi Sullivan played her first match in 343 days after suffering a knee injury last fall on September 17 at home against Idaho State. Sullivan received a medical hardship in 2009 and returned against Central Arkansas on August 27. She posted a team-high 10 kills and .192 hitting percentage. She led NAU in kills in three of the Lumberjacks' four matches at the UniWyo Wyoming Invite.
The Lumberjacks practice Monday-Thursday from 2-4:30 p.m. in the Rolle Activity Center. Media seeking admittance need to contact Joe Scacco by phone at 928-523-6330 or by email at Joe.Scacco@nau.edu.
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 35 years. In its 23 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 19 years. In 1999, NAU went to the NCAA tournament suffering a 3-0 loss to No. 5 North Carolina.