FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – With the start of the 2012 season just one week away, the NAU volleyball team will host an open Blue vs Gold scrimmage with free admission at 6 p.m. Friday in Rolle Activity Center. The team will be split into two squads competing against each other in preparation for its season opener next Friday at the UNLV Invitational in Las Vegas.
"We're split in half so it's not going to be the team that faces somebody else, but it's a chance for us to get in uniform and play in front of our fans," NAU head coach Craig Choate said. "We've been playing really hard so far and it should be fun for the fans to see."
Fans will get their first chance to see the Lumberjacks in action, as the team will play its entire non-conference schedule on the road and not open its home slate until Sept. 20 vs. Sacramento State. In all NAU plays 14 of its first 15 matches on the road, so Friday's scrimmage will provide a chance for the Lumberjacks to compete on their home floor before a challenging start to the season.
"We are just pumped to play," said senior Kelli Dallmann, who has moved to outside hitter after serving as NAU's setter through the majority of her career. "Hopefully we get some people out here and show them what we have this year and that we're ready to go. It's always more fun to play in front of fans than just in practice."
With five seniors, the 2012 Lumberjacks squad has veteran skill and leadership to go with an influx of young talent. Two returning Lumberjacks, Dallmann and sophomore Taylor Stephens, have shifted to new positions this year while four newcomers will also contribute to a new look for the team. NAU will face its first test next weekend at the UNLV Invitational, opening the season against the Citadel at 5 p.m. Friday before facing CSU Bakersfield and host UNLV next Saturday.