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March 28, 2012

Volleyball to Host ASU, Three Others in Spring Matches Saturday

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The NAU volleyball team will host Arizona State, Grand Canyon, Fort Lewis, and Yavapai College for spring matches on Saturday in Rolle Activity Center. The Lumberjacks will play each team in best-of-three matches while the other schools will also face each other with two concurrent courts in use. Action will begin at 10 a.m. with free admission.

The Lumberjacks will play Yavapai College at 10 a.m., Fort Lewis at 11 a.m., Grand Canyon at 1 p.m., and close against Arizona State at 3 p.m. The team is also scheduled to play at Arizona State again on April 14.

"The spring as a weird time because kids want to just go out and play," NAU head coach Craig Choate said. "For coaches it's more about fixing the technique of things and I think we're making some progress. There are some people that are shifting to new positions, and I think we're showing some signs in those spots of really nice things to come."

The team opened spring play last Saturday in Tucson, playing two-set matches against Arizona, UTEP, and New Mexico State. NAU split matches against both UTEP and New Mexico State, and after losing its first match against the host Wildcats, took a 25-16 first set decision against Arizona in a second match in which a second set was not played.

"We played hard last weekend and on the whole I was happy with Saturday," added Choate. "We had the fewest bodies in the gym and we were more than ready for the matches. It's easy to make strides in practice, but we weren't as aggressive attacking the ball as I'd like us to be. It takes a long time to mesh the two; it's easy to practice but it's hard to put practice into application."

NAU has eight returning letter winners on its spring roster, including five players who will be seniors next season. Libero Anna Gott and middle blocker Sydney Kemper return as All-Big Sky honorees and are two of six returning starters. The team also has three incoming freshman signed to begin their collegiate careers at NAU in the fall.

"It will be a nice test this week with ASU and I think this weekend should be fun for us," said Choate. "It's always fun to be at home and see people come and watch. Playing is more fun than practicing so they will be up for it."