Volleyball Returns to the Rolle Monday Versus Southern Utah
Opponent: Southern Utah (Monday, Sept. 30/7:00 p.m.)
Location: Flagstaff, Ariz.
Live Stats: www.nauathletics.com
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Northern Arizona volleyball team will look to rebound from its first Big Sky loss of the season on Monday when Southern Utah visits the Rolle Activity Center. The Lumberjacks fell to Sacramento State in four sets on Friday, but will have three consecutive home matches - their longest conference homestand for the season - beginning on Monday. NAU takes a 8-4 overall mark and 2-1 record in the conference into the week, currently sitting third in the Big Sky standings.
Sophomore Janae Vander Ploeg led the Lumberjacks on Friday with 14 kills and nine digs, while junior Taylor Stephens chipped in 10 kills and a team-high six blocks. Freshman Jensen Barton returned to the lineup for the first time in two weeks with 32 assists in addition to hitting .538 with seven kills. NAU hit .271 as a team and outblocked Sacramento State 11.0-9.0 but committed a season-high 15 service errors in the loss.
Series History: The Lumberjacks swept the season series against Southern Utah last year in the Thunderbirds' first season in the Big Sky. NAU picked up a 3-1 win in Cedar City, Utah and then won in three sets at home on Oct. 29. With the two wins last year, the Lumberjacks have won four of the last five meetings between the two schools and owns an all-time 9-3 series advantage.
TV Coverage: Monday's match against Southern Utah will be televised by NAU-TV and shown live on Fox Sports Arizona, Fox College Sports, Fox College Sports Pacific and Fox Sports San Diego. The match will be shown live locally in Flagstaff on Suddenlink cable Channel 4 and online on the NAU-TV live web stream.
About Southern Utah (2-11, 1-2 BSC): Southern Utah was swept by Sacramento State on Saturday, a day after the Hornets defeated the Lumberjacks. The Thunderbirds managed a split of their conference opening weekend the week prior, picking up its second win of the season when they defeated Weber State in four sets in its Big Sky opener before being swept by Idaho State. The Thunderbirds are 2-11 overall after a 1-2 start to Big Sky play.
The Thunderbirds are led offensively by senior Kylie Schofield, who averages 2.94 kills. Schofield led Southern Utah with nine kills against Sacramento State. Junior Annie Stradling is ninth in the Big Sky efficiency with a .266 hitting percentage while freshman Joanna Christenson ranks eighth in the conference with 8.78 assists per set. As a team Southern Utah is second in opponent hitting percentage only behind NAU in large part to the fourth-best block in the conference at 2.44 per set. Freshman Ann Clappier is the leading blocker at 1.10 per set, the eighth best average in the Big Sky.
Milestone Watch: Following her 14 kill performance at Sacramento State on Friday, Vander Ploeg is five kills shy of 500 for her career.
Welcomed Returns: Friday's match marked the return of two Lumberjacks as Barton returned to the court after missing the previous two weeks of play due to an injury. In addition to her 32 assists, Barton recorded a career-high seven kills without committing an error in 13 attempts. Senior Lexie Schroeder made her season debut after sitting out the first 11 matches of the season because of an injury. She started at libero and registered eight digs and a career-high four assists.
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