Opponent: Northern Colorado (Thursday, Sept. 22/6:00 p.m.)
Location: Greeley, Colo.
Live Stats: www.uncbears.com
Opponent: Southern Utah (Saturday, Sept. 24/12:00 p.m.)
Location: Cedar City, Utah
Live Stats: www.suutbirds.com
Video (Both matches): www.watchbigsky.com
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Despite being the first Big sky team to 10 wins this season, the Northern Arizona volleyball team - like every other team - is back to 0-0 with the start of conference play this week. The Lumberjacks, 10-3 overall, open up their conference schedule on the road at Northern Colorado on Thursday at 6 p.m. Arizona time. The match will pit the conference's top two teams in the preseason poll, before NAU heads to Southern Utah for a 12 noon Arizona time match on Saturday.
Ken Murphy's Sound Bite: "You have to show toughness in different situations and last weekend gave us an idea of what we need to do to be successful. The first four weeks have shown us a lot about what we're capable of and it's up to us to execute at this point. We're making progress in ways that I would hope and we're definitely on track to where I'd hope we'd be (going into conference) and now it's time to test ourselves."
Previewing The 'Jacks: NAU heads into the conference schedule coming off arguably its most challenging weekend, playing three five-set matches in four days last week in Bakersfield, Calif. The Lumberjacks managed to win the Roadrunner Classic with a 3-0 record with five-set wins over UC Riverside and UC Irvine in addition to a sweep of San Francisco, successfully rebounding from a five-set loss to host CSU Bakersfield in a stand alone match. NAU has been led by senior Lauren Jacobsen, who claimed her second Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week award on Monday. Jacobsen - the Roadrunner Classic MVP - ranks second in the conference and No. 18 nationally with 4.44 kills per set. She also ranks second on the team in digs with 3.24 digs per set and leads the conference with nine double-doubles. The 'Jacks are tied for first in the country with 108 service aces and currently have four players in the top 10 of the Big Sky in aces per set including redshirt sophomore Brittni Dorsey who paces the conference. Dorsey is averaging 0.65 aces per set and has recorded 28 service aces, both of which rank her fifth in the country.
The Northern Colorado Scout: Northern Colorado, picked second in the preseason Big Sky poll, compiled a 6-6 non-conference record. The Bears finished their pre-conference slate with a pair of 3-0 sweeps at the Air Force Invitational over host Air Force and Georgetown. Kortney Lockey ranks sixth in the Big Sky with a team-leading 3.39 kills per set. Lockey also ranks second on the team in digs at 2.75 per set. Returning All-Big Sky First Team performer Ashley Guthrie runs the Bear attack with 9.47 assists per set, which ranks seventh in the conference. The Bears have excelled in the back row, averaing 16.04 digs per set, good for second in the Big Sky.
The Southern Utah Scout: Southern Utah heads into conference play on a six-match losing streak including losses to Denver, Georgetown and Air Force at the Air Force Invitational last week. The Thunderbirds are 2-10 on the season and were picked 10th in the preseason conference poll. Chennin Benson has been the Thunderbirds' primary attacker averaging a team-best 2.68 kills per set. Ann Clappier, a second team all-conference pick last year, ranks third in the Big Sky in blocks at 1.23 per set. Clappier also ranks ninth with a .313 hitting percentage and is averaging 1.81 kills per set. The Thunderbirds rank second in the conference in blocking as a team at 2.38 per set.
- NAU and Northern Colorado will be meeting for the 24th time in school history. UNC leads the all-time series 15-8. NAU won the only meeting last season, 3-2, on Oct. 24, 2015 in Flagstaff.
- NAU and Southern Utah will be meeting for the 24th time in school history. NAU leads the all-time series 18-5. NAU won all three meetings last season including the last meeting, 3-0, on Nov. 19, 2015 in Flagstaff.
NAU Quick Sets:
- NAU enters the conference schedule with a 10-3 non-conference record for the second consecutive year.
- The Lumberjacks have won 14 consecutive Big Sky regular season matches. Northern Colorado was the only conference team to take NAU to five sets last season.
- The 'Jacks are fifth nationally in aces per set (2.16) and 11th in hitting percentage (.293).
- Senior Jensen Barton - one of 16 players in the country to record a triple-double this season - and Dorsey was named to the Roadrunner Classic All-Tournament team along with Jacobsen, who was named the MVP.
- Freshman Abby Akin ranks second in the Big Sky with 1.29 blocks per set. She leads the team with 63 total blocks.
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