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November 4, 2010

Volleyball Prepares for Final Road Swing

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. –Northern Arizona volleyball travels to Montana and Montana State in its last road trip of the Big Sky Conference season.  The Lumberjacks play Montana State on Friday, Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Montana on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m.

NAU (8-13, 4-7 BSC) posted a 1-1 record last week in its matches against Weber State and Idaho State.  The women defeated Weber State for the second time this year, 3-1, and lost to Idaho State, 3-0.

"It was good to get that first win last week," said head coach Craig Choate.  "We felt good going into Idaho State but could not get it done.  We are working on some different things in practice and hope to see some improved play against Montana and Montana State."

The Lumberjacks head to Bozeman, Mont., for a matchup against Montana State followed by Montana the following night in Missoula, Mont.   NAU defeated Montana State earlier this season, 3-0, at the Rolle Activity Center and narrowly missed a home sweep two days prior falling to Montana, 3-2.

Montana State (10-14, 3-8 BSC) has lost its last three Big Sky matches with recent losses to Eastern Washington (3-0) on Oct. 29 and Portland State (3-1) on Oct. 30.  The Lumberjacks are 27-22 all-time against the Bobcats and have won the last seven contests.  Montana State is 4-3 at home this year.

"I am expecting Montana State to be a good tough match," Choate said.  "We were able to get a win against them at home so I am sure they will be looking to return the favor.  We need to stay focused on this match and try not to worry about the next one against Montana."

Montana (10-12, 6-5 BSC) opened last week 6-3 in the Big Sky but dropped matches to Portland State (3-1) on Oct. 29 and Eastern Washington (3-2) on Oct. 30.  The Lumberjacks are 22-30 all-time against the Grizzlies and have lost the last five matchups.  The Grizzlies enter the week third in the Big Sky standings and hold a 5-3 record this year at home.

"Montana is having a good year but we played them to five sets earlier in the season," said Craig Choate.  "It is never easy to win in Montana so we need to stay sharp and disciplined."

DID YOU KNOW…Northern Arizona University finished tied for second in the Sterling Savings Presidents' Cup standings in 2009-10. The Sterling Savings Cup reinforces the Big Sky's dedication to the academic side of the student-athlete experience. Overall athletic success is combined with team grade point averages, graduation rates, and All-Conference performers with grade point averages of at least 3.0 to determine the winner. NAU led the conference with 37 first or second-team all-conference performers who recorded a 3.0 GPA or better.