OREM, Utah – After dropping the first two sets, NAU withstood a match point in the third set and took the fourth and fifth sets to complete a 3-2 comeback victory over Illinois State at the Wolverine Invitational in Orem, Utah (20-25, 19-25, 26-24, 25-19, 15-11). Double-doubles from senior Kobi Christensen and junior Kelli Dallmann propelled the Lumberjacks to a second consecutive win to open the season, while Illinois State dropped to 0-2.
The Redbirds jumped to a first set win as NAU hit just .156 in the opening frame while committing six attack errors. Illinois State recorded its best set in the second stanza, hitting .371 to take what appeared to be a commanding 2-0 lead.
NAU responded in the third set, however, responding from an early 12-7 deficit to eventually even the score at 20-20. Illinois State would move to a point from victory, but a service error by Kaitlyn Early and an attack error by Tabitha Visk gave the Lumberjacks a 25-24 lead. Junior Lexi Sullivan would close the set with a kill assisted by Dallmann to force a fourth set.
In the fourth, the Lumberjacks hit a game-best .371, fuelled by six kills and five digs from Christensen, to pull away late and force a fifth and deciding set. After the set was tied 11-11, NAU would take the next four points, capped by a kill from Christensen on a Redbird block error, to completed the improbable comeback and take the match despite hitting -.107 in the final set.
Christensen finished with 22 kills and 14 digs for her first double-double of the season while Dallmann recorded 47 assists and 16 digs. Junior Anna Gott and freshman Kalee Kirby also reached double figures in digs with 21 and 14, respectively, while freshman Sydney Kemper notched seven total blocks.
NAU will conclude play at the Wolverine Invitational tonight at 6 p.m., facing host Utah Valley.