CHENEY, Wash. – After falling behind 2-0, NAU rallied back to win the third and fourth set and limited Eastern Washington to a -.037 hitting percentage in the fifth set to upend the Eagles, 3-2, on Saturday night at Reese Court (24-26, 18-25, 25-19, 25-22, 15-12). Junior libero Anna Gott posted a career-high 34 digs for the Lumberjacks, who rebounded from their first loss of the season to improve to 13-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big Sky, while Eastern Washington dropped to 8-8 overall and 4-2 in conference play.
"When we went in at the intermission the girls said that we were playing not to lose, not to win," said head coach Craig Choate. "Things just kind of lightened after that, and we just talked about taking it one set at a time and having some fun. We just started playing well after that."
The first set was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than 3 points leading to a tied score a 24-24. With the score tied, the Eagles would get consecutive kills to take the set 26-24. Eastern Washington would dominate the second set, limiting NAU to a .000 hitting percentage for a 25-18 win and a 2-0 lead.
NAU would begin its comeback effort in the third set, paced by four kills in the set from junior Jen Wilson, to take a 25-19 win. NAU led through most of a tight fourth set, turning a 24-22 lead into a set win on a kill by freshman Taylor Stephens to force a fifth and deciding set.
In the fifth set, Eastern Washington had just four kills and five attack errors, as NAU turned a 5-5 tie into a 12-7 lead. With the Lumberjacks ahead 14-12, NAU freshman Sydney Kemper connected for a kill to complete the comeback and give the Lumberjacks a 3-2 win.
Wilson recorded her second consecutive double-double, finishing with 16 kills, 11 digs and three blocks. Stephens posted a career-high 15 kills, while junior Kelli Dallmann posted another double-double with 48 assists and 12 digs. Eastern Washington outhit the Lumberjacks .169 to .135 and posted 3.5 more blocks than NAU, but struggled with 10 service errors and 31 attack errors for the match.
The Lumberjacks close their season-long four match road trip next Saturday, playing at Northern Colorado at 6 p.m.