'Jacks Open Five-Match Road Trip at Southern Illinois Tourney

Brooke Donnelly
Brooke Donnelly

Saluki Invitational Information:

Opponent: Western Michigan (Friday, Sept. 2/2:30 p.m.)

Opponent: Central Florida (Saturday, Sept. 3/8:00 a.m.)

Opponent: Southern Illinois (Saturday, Sept. 3/5:00 p.m.)

Location: Carbondale, Ill.

Live Stats: www.siusalukis.com

Video (SIU match only): www.espn3.com


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Northern Arizona volleyball team's five-match week gets started in Carbondale, Ill. for the Saluki Invitational hosted by Southern Illinois. The Lumberjacks open up with Western Michigan on Friday at 2:30 p.m. Arizona time before tackling their first doubleheader of the season on Saturday with Central Florida (8 a.m.) and Southern Illinois (5 p.m.). The tournament precedes NAU's quick Labor Day stop next Monday in Martin, Tenn. before finally returning home.

Ken Murphy's Sound Bite: "We're excited about the weekend because the challenges ahead are significant. We have a lot of respect for all three of these teams and we know throughout the course of these matches, it'll help us improve. We feel like we learned a lot about ourselves coming out of the first weekend and we're excited to see how much better we are against this caliber of competition."

Previewing The 'Jacks: NAU opened the 2016 season with a split of its two matches at the Temple Invitational last weekend. Following a 3-1 loss to the host to start the season, the Lumberjacks rebounded with a clean 3-0 sweep of Hampton to close the first weekend. Seniors Lauren Jacobsen and Addy Lofstedt represented the 'Jacks on the all-tournament team. Jacobsen led the Lumberjacks in both kills and digs with 20 in each category. Lofstedt tallied 17 kills and added five blocks while hitting .452. NAU hit .248 as a team during the first weekend of play while holding its two opponents to a .135 clip. The Lumberjacks used a commanding advantage in hitting percentage to sweep Hampton, hitting .387 compared to -.057 for the Pirates.

The Western Michigan Scout: Western Michigan is 2-2 heading into the weekend after edging by Fort Wayne on Tuesday at home in five sets. During the first weekend of play, the Broncos picked up one win, in three sets over Seton Hall, at Notre Dame's Golden Dome Invitational. They also fell to Cleveland State, 3-1, and Notre Dame, 3-0. Sydney LeMay totaled 60 kills and 13 blocks, both of which lead the team, and is hitting .373. She was named the MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week and also was named to the Golden Dome Invitational All-Tournament team. Olivia Kofie also was selected to the all-tournament team and is right behind LeMay with 46 kills and 11 blocks. Kofie is hitting a team-best .394.

The Central Florida Scout: Central Florida spent the opening week of the season hosting its own UCF Invitational and compiling a 3-1 record. The Knights defeated Stony Brook, 3-0, Kent State, 3-1, and Stetson, 3-0. Their lone loss was to No. 17 Florida State in straight sets. Jale Hervey was named the tournament MVP after posting a team-best 46 kills. Hervey also recorded 35 digs. Kia Bright and Anna Richards were also named to the all-tournament team. Bright notched 43 kills and 42 digs, second in both categories on the team, while Richards hit .300 and tallied 32 kills.

The Southern Illinois Scout: Southern Illinois completed a perfect 3-0 record at the IUPUI Invitational to claim tournament championship honors in the first weekend of play. The Salukis dropped just one set, sweeping Central Michigan and Duquesne and defeating IUPUI in four sets. Andrea Estrada led the Salukis with 31 kills and was honored with the tournament's MVP award. She also recorded 24 digs, tied for second-most on the team. Alex Rosignol and McKenzie Dorris joined Estrada on the all-tournament team. Rosignol and Dorris helped Southern Illinois total 31.5 team blocks in three matches by totaling 16 and 14 respectively.

Series History: 

  • NAU and Western Michigan will be meeting for the second time in school history. NAU won the first meeting, 3-1, on Sept. 13, 1997.
  • NAU and Central Florida will be meeting for the second time in school history. UCF won the first meeting, 3-0, on Sept. 6, 1996.
  • NAU and Southern Illinois will be meeting for the second time in school history. SIU won the first meeting, 3-1, on Sept. 27, 1980.

NAU Quick Sets: 

  • NAU is ranked 25th in this week's VolleyballMag.com Mid-Major Poll. Southern Illinois is currently ranked 17th in the poll, while Central Florida is receiving votes outside the top 25.
  • The Lumberjacks are 43-10 in non-conference play since 2011.
  • Junior transfer Brooke Donnelly and freshmen Abby Akin and Sydney Lema all cracked the season-opening starting lineup at Temple last weekend in their NAU debuts. The trio then went on to start the following day as well against Hampton.

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