FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The NAU volleyball team (15-9, 6-9 BSC) will close its 2011 campaign at home on Saturday night hosting Big Sky regular season champion Northern Colorado (19-8, 12-3 BSC) at 7 p.m. in Rolle Activity Center. The Lumberjacks will honor their three graduating seniors – Katie Bailey, Kobi Christensen, and Sam Hodgkins – prior to the match.
"Katie has given us everything she has for four years, and Kobi and Sam have both been plagued with injuries and it's a shame that we never go to see their full potential," said NAU head coach Craig Choate. "We're really glad that all three of them were in our program and we wish them the best of luck in the future."
Bailey is closing her NAU career strong, having totaled 25 total blocks over her last five matches, averaging five blocks per match and 1.14 blocks per set. She has also averaged 1.64 kills per set, including a 14-kill performance on a .407 hitting percentage against Weber State. She has six matches this season with double-digit kills and 19 matches with multiple blocks. For the season, Bailey is second on the team with 240.0 points, a .223 hitting percentage, and 0.92 blocks per set, having started all but one match and played in all but one set for the year.
With a win against the Bears on Saturday, NAU would complete just its fourth season in program history with single-digit losses and the first since 2001. NAU will finish with at least 15 wins this season, equaling or surpassing the most wins in a season for the program since the 2001 team went 16-7. This season, the Lumberjacks completed their first season sweep of Sacramento State, which qualified for the Big Sky Championship, winning in Sacramento to end an 0-17 all-time NAU record in the Hornets Nest. NAU also defeated Big Sky Championship participant Eastern Washington on the road and forced the Eagles to a fifth set in their match in Flagstaff.
Junior libero Anna Gott is just 20 digs away from passing Brittany Stowers (1,294 digs) for second all-time in career digs in program history. Gott has 435 digs this season, currently the fourth highest season total in school history, and would have the fourth highest season digs average at 4.53. Gott has recorded double-digit digs in 21 of 24 matches this season and 19 consecutive matches. She also has eight matches this season with 20 or more digs.
Northern Colroado will be the top seed in the Big Sky Championship and has won six straight matches, with the last five coming in sweeps. When NAU and UNC met in Greeley on Oct. 8, the Bears handed the Lumberjacks their first 3-0 loss of the season, with Northern Colorado hitting .246 while limiting NAU to a .095 hitting percentage. UNC freshman middle blocker Andrea Spaustat leads the Big Sky with a .353 hitting percentage with 2.63 kills per set, while junior Kelly Arnold leads the conference with 3.85 kills per set and is second with a .297 hitting percentage. NAU is 6-10 all-time against Northern Colorado and has dropped the last-five matches in the series.