FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The NAU volleyball team will conclude the spring portion of its season with a home scrimmage vs. Yavapai College at 6 p.m. Friday with FREE admission in Rolle Activity Center. The Lumberjacks have played on the road over the last four weeks at Arizona, Arizona State, and New Mexico and look to end their spring on a high note in their home gym.
"The spring has been good, it's just been mixed up because we haven't had players," NAU head coach Craig Choate said. "Right now we're playing with five players plus a senior, so there's stuff going on for us that is different from the fall. It's been an interesting spring and we're finding stuff out."
Despite being shorthanded the Lumberjacks have fared well thus far in the spring, including two-set sweeps over Arizona and New Mexico. NAU has also split matches against Western Arizona in Tucson and UTEP, Adams State, and West Texas A&M last weekend in Albuquerque.
Taylor Stephens and Sydney Kemper, who will both be juniors in the fall, shined for NAU at the New Mexico tournament with hitting percentages of .394 and .294, respectively. Kemper, who has twice been named All-Big Sky honorable mention, has been playing on the outside after serving as a middle blocker through her first two seasons at NAU while Stephens will enter her second season as a middle and has drawn high praise from Choate in the spring.
In addition to Stephens and Kemper the Lumberjacks return five other players from their 2012 squad that reached the Big Sky Championship semifinals and earned the program's first postseason win since 1999. Among them are middle blocker Payton Bock, who was named Big Sky Outstanding Freshman and was an All-Big Sky first team honoree a year ago. Janae Vander Ploeg returns after she was an All-Big Sky honorable mention selection after her freshman season along with starting setter Kalee Kirby, who was an All-Big Sky Championship honoree, backup setter Erin Truett, and defensive specialist Trianna Henry.
Yavapai College went 29-7 overall last season and 10-6 in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC). The Roughriders will enter their first season under new head coach Zachary Shaver.