'Jacks Trek to Eastern Washington and Idaho for Weekend Road Trip

Addy Lofstedt
Addy Lofstedt

Match Information:

Opponent: Eastern Washington (Thursday, Oct. 6/6:00 p.m.)

Location: Cheney, Wash.

Live Stats: www.goeags.com

Opponent: Idaho (Saturday, Oct. 8/7:00 p.m.)

Location: Moscow, Idaho

Live Stats: www.govandals.com

Video (Both matches): www.watchbigsky.com


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Northern Arizona volleyball team travels to the Northwest for a pair of matches this week, starting at Eastern Washington on Thursday at 6 p.m. The Lumberjacks will then make the short trip to Idaho for a Saturday night match at 7 p.m. NAU, along with Sacramento State, is a perfect 4-0 in conference play and will return home for a season-long four-match homestand after this week's road trip.

Ken Murphy's Sound Bite: "All challenges in this conference are serious. Both of these teams are solid and present a lot of problems for their opponents. Both of them play in very tough environments, so our team will have to be mentally tough to handle the road this week. We've said all along, that the key for us to have success is being able to focus on every match, and making sure that we're ready to play when we're on the road. This weekend is no different."

Previewing The 'Jacks: NAU is one of two remaining undefeated teams in conference play through the first two weeks after picking up victories over Idaho State and Weber State at home last week. NAU is on a season-long seven-match win streak and now owns a 14-3 overall record after a 4-0 start to conference play. Senior Jensen Barton was named the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week after recording her second triple-double of the season - and her career - in the win against Weber State last Saturday. For the season, she is averaging 10.14 assists per set, which ranks fifth in the Big Sky, while leading the conference with a .399 hitting percentage. Senior Lauren Jacobsen continues to lead the team in kills with 4.53 per set. In conference matches only, Jacobsen is averaging 4.86 kills per set. As a team, the Lumberjacks are averaging 2.93 blocks per set during conference play, which ranks second in the league. Redshirt sophomore Brittni Dorsey leads all players with 1.71 blocks per set in conference play, followed by freshman Abby Akin (1.21 per set) and Barton (1.14 per set) who also reside in the top 10 at seventh and ninth respectively.

The Eastern Washington Scout: Eastern Washington opened up its season-long four-match homestand last week with a pair of 3-1 losses to Northern Colorado and North Dakota. The Eagles are 7-6 overall this season and 2-2 in conference play, and were picked eighth in the preseason poll. Jessica Gilbert leads the Eagles in both kills (2.85 per set) and hitting percentage (.236). Sophie Miller ranks in the Big Sky's top 10 in both assists with 8.62 per set and aces with 0.30 per set. Eastern Washington ranks third in the conference with an opponent hitting percentage of only .164.

The Idaho Scout: Idaho also fell to North Dakota and Northern Colorado in four sets last week in the first half of a four-match homestand. The Vandals dropped to 1-3 in the conference and sit at 6-10 overall after a preseason selection of sixth in the Big Sky coaches poll. Sarah Sharp ranks seventh in the conference with a team leading 3.06 kills per set overall, but in conference play she is up to 3.65 kills per set, fifth-best in the Big Sky. Torrin Crawford leads the team with a .330 hitting percentage which ranks fifth-best in the conference. She also ranks second on the team in blocks with 50. The Vandals are hitting .195 as a team this season, while their opponents are hitting .211.

Series History: 

  • NAU and Eastern Washington will be meeting for the 64th time in school history. EWU leads the all-time series 35-28. NAU won the only meeting last season, 3-0, on Nov. 5, 2015 in Cheney.
  • NAU and Idaho will be meeting for the 25th time in school history. NAU leads the all-time series 14-10. NAU won the only meeting last season, 3-1, on Oct. 1, 2015 in Flagstaff.

NAU Quick Sets: 

  • NAU's win streak versus Big Sky opponents sits at 21, including 18 straight regular season conference victories. The 'Jacks last fell to a Big Sky team on the road to Sacramento State on Sept. 26, 2015.
  • The Lumberjacks were slotted at No. 127 in the first NCAA RPI report released on Monday. NAU is fourth among Big Sky teams and is one of six conference teams in the top 150.
  • Barton is the third Lumberjack to receive conference Player of the Week honors this season, joining Jacobsen (Sept. 5, Sept. 19) and Akin (Sept. 5).
  • NAU is second nationally in total aces (131), third in aces per set (2.05), ninth in hitting percentage (.292) and 16th in opponent hitting percentage (.150).
  • Dorsey ranks fourth nationally in both total aces (35) and aces per set (0.61). She leads the Big Sky in both categories.

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