Opponent: Weber State (Thursday, Nov. 3/6:00 p.m.)
Location: Ogden, Utah
Live Stats: www.weberstatesports.com
Opponent: Idaho State (Saturday, Nov. 5/6:00 p.m.)
Location: Pocatello, Idaho
Live Stats: www.isubengals.com
Video (Both matches): www.watchbigsky.com
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Northern Arizona volleyball team will turn right around and head back on the road this week with hopes of further increasing their potential chances at hosting the Big Sky Tournament and clinching their second consecutive regular season title. The Lumberjacks will open the week at Weber State on Thursday before continuing on to Idaho State on Saturday. Both matches will start at 6 p.m. Arizona time.
Ken Murphy's Sound Bite: "We're finding our identity as the season goes on. We're getting more examples of when we play a certain style with a certain intensity, we'll get the result that we want. It's taking us a little longer than we had hoped, but we're excited that we are getting closer. If we focus on ourselves and play the game we want to play, then we're optimistic about the way things could go the last couple of weeks."
Previewing The 'Jacks: NAU hits the road for final time this regular season following a road trip split last week. The Lumberjacks are now 20-5 overall and 10-2 in conference play after successfully pulling out a five-set victory over Portland State in response to their first three-set loss of the season at Sacramento State. Senior Lauren Jacobsen should etch her name into the NAU record book on Thursday when she becomes the sixth player in school history to collect 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. With averages of 4.17 kills and 3.52 digs per set this season, Jacobsen is just three kills and one dig shy of her career milestones. NAU is coming off one of its best defensive performances in years in the win over Portland State led by redshirt sophomore Brittni Dorsey and junior Brooke Donnelly. Dorsey totaled a career-high 11 blocks against the Vikings and Donnelly recorded a career-high 26 digs. Dorsey is now averaging a team-leading 1.41 blocks per set in conference play. NAU leads the Big Sky in both hitting percentage (.265) and opponent hitting percentage (.153) for the third straight week.
The Weber State Scout: Weber State has endured a rough stretch recently dropping five straight matches, including losses to Eastern Washington and Idaho State last week. The Wildcats are 4-8 in conference play and 13-8 overall. Amanda Varley ranks sixth in the conference with a team-best 3.28 kills per set. Megan Thompson continues to lead one of the nation's top blocking teams with a conference-best 1.67 blocks per set. She ranks second in the nation with that average. The Wildcats are fourth in the conference in both hitting percentage (.221) and opponent hitting percentage (.177), and rank fifth nationally with a Big Sky best 3.06 blocks per set.
The Idaho State Scout: Idaho State is possibly the hottest team in the conference right now, having won eight of its last nine. The Bengals, now 13-12 overall and 8-4 in conference, had their seven-match win streak snapped last Thursday at Idaho, but rebounded to sweep Weber State on the road. Chloe Hirst leads all players with 4.04 kills per set in conference matches only, and is third overall this season with a kill average of 3.85. Haylie Keck ranks second in the conference overall in digs at 4.83 per set. The Bengals are narrowly outhitting their opponents this season, .200 to .197. They rank fourth in the conference in both kills (13.34 per set) and digs (16.66 per set) as a team.
- NAU and Weber State will be meeting for the 73rd time in school history. NAU leads the all-time series 43-29. NAU won the first meeting this season, 3-0, on Oct. 1 in Flagstaff.
- NAU and Idaho State will be meeting for the 71st time in school history. ISU leads the all-time series 37-33. NAU won the first meeting, 3-1, on Sept. 29 in Flagstaff.
NAU Quick Sets:
- The Lumberjacks dropped six spots to No. 110 in this week's NCAA RPI rankings, but remain the highest rated Big Sky team for the third straight week.
- NAU clinched its third straight 20 win season and fourth in the last five years with its win over Portland State last Saturday.
- Senior Jensen Barton moved into third all-time in career assists last week and is now just 139 assists away from climbing into second all-time in school history.
- Dorsey leads five Lumberjacks in the top 10 of the conference in service aces. Dorsey is averaging a Big Sky leading 0.56 aces per set and is followed by redshirt freshman Hannah Cherry (0.32) in fourth, Barton (0.29) in sixth, freshman Sydney Lema (0.28) in seventh, and sophomore Jordan Anderson (0.27) in ninth.
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