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September 16, 2011

Volleyball Looks to Stay Perfect Saturday Hosting Rival Montana

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – After opening Big Sky play with a 3-0 win over Montana State Thursday night, the 10-0 Northern Arizona volleyball team will be back in action Saturday at 4 p.m. against Montana with free admission in Rolle Activity Center. As of Friday afternoon, NAU was one of only 11 undefeated Division-I volleyball teams in the nation. All 10 of the other undefeated teams are in action Friday night, however, so the elite group may be even smaller by the time the Lumberjacks hit the court on Saturday.

"We've played some really outstanding volleyball and we've been lucky, you need both to have a record like ours," said head coach Craig Choate. "The girls have earned every bit of the luck we have had, but all that matters is conference play. We are 1-0 in the Big Sky and that has to be our focus."

Montana dropped its Big Sky opener, 3-0, on Thursday to fall to 3-6 overall, but the Grizzlies have consistently been a Big Sky power and have had tremendous recent success against the Lumberjacks. Montana has won six consecutive meetings with NAU, and the Lumberjacks have not defeated the Grizzlies in Flagstaff since 2006.

"Montana has the intangible in that since I've been here we haven't beaten them," added Choate. "There's something about going into a visiting gym and thinking that you're going to win there because you always have, and that's something we have to take away from them. We've been incredibly mentally tough, so I expect us to be able to do that."

A win on Saturday would equal the 1991 team and their 11-0 record for the best season start in program history. Saturday's match will also be critical for the Lumberjacks to defend their home court, as they will play their next four matches on the road and don't have another home match until October 13.

"We just have to keep playing the way we have all season, but I never expect any conference match to be easy," said Choate. "We just need to grind. I think the team knows that and that we've done a fabulous job of it so far."

Live stats and free streaming video will be available via the above links. Saturday's match broadcast will air exclusively on Big Sky TV.