MISSOULA, Mont. – NAU rallied from down 2-0 with a dominant 25-9 third set win, but Montana rebounded to win the fourth set and post a 3-1 victory over the Lumberjacks on Friday night in Missoula (25-13, 25-20, 9-25, 25-23). The loss dropped NAU to 4-5 in the Big Sky and 13-5 overall, while the Grizzlies improved to 7-10 overall and 4-5 in conference play.
The Lumberjacks got down big early in the first set, trailing 14-4 before calling a timeout. NAU could not get much closer, as the Grizzlies hit .552 in the opening stanza to take a 1-0 lead. NAU trailed by just one point late in the second set at 17-16, but Montana closed on an 8-4 run to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
NAU came out firing after the break, opening up a quick 6-0 lead and moving to a 12-2 advantage. The Lumberjacks hit .545 in the set, with freshman Sydney Kemper and senior Katie Bailey leading the way with three kills apiece, while Montana hit -.091, and the Lumberjacks cruised to a 25-9 win to extend the match to a fourth set.
The Lumberjacks built on their momentum to open up a 16-11 lead in the fourth, but Montana rallied back to square the match at 20-20. With the score level at 23-23, the Grizzlies got a kill from Kelsey Schile and a block from Brooke Bray to finish off a 3-1 victory.
NAU hit .194 for the match, hitting below .175 in each set other than the third, while Montana had a .254 hitting percentage for the contest and outblocked NAU 10-8. Bailey led the way for the Lumberjacks with 13 kills on a .296 hitting percentage, while Kemper added 12 kills on a .435 hitting percentage and six blocks. Junior Kelli Dallmann returned to setter and totaled 42 assists and six digs, while junior Anna Gott led the team with 16 digs.
The Lumberjacks will play at Montana State at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Bobcats dropped to 2-7 in the Big Sky and 3-17 overall with a loss Friday to Northern Colorado.