OGDEN, Utah – If senior Lauren Jacobsen's milestone night was the headline of the night, the Northern Arizona volleyball team's balanced attack was not far behind on Thursday's storylines. Jacobsen joined the 1,000 kill/1,000 dig club in NAU's 27-25, 25-20, 25-15 straight set victory over Weber State, and was one of six Lumberjacks to total at least five kills in the sweep.
"Jensen (Barton) made a big impact on this match," said head coach Ken Murphy. "There were stretches where we didn't pass very well, but she kept our hitters in really good positions. That was a huge part of what we did tonight."
Jacobsen became the sixth player in program history to reach both 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. Needing just a single dig to reach the 1,000 mark, Jacobsen easily tallied that in the first set. She then notched her milestone kill on third of the night in the second set. In addition to Jacobsen's inclusion to the 1,000/1,000 club, she became the 13th player in school history to record 1,000 kills and the 12th Lumberjack to record 1,000 digs.
"It's such an amazing accomplishment and I'm so honored to be recognized with those elite players at NAU," Jacobsen said. "It feels even better to do it in a win. Getting wins on the road is so huge especially this late in the season. We drive our energy when we play strong defense and we wanted to get our defense going right away. We did a better job of controlling the match tonight."
However, the 'Jacks swept to victory on the strength of their team as senior Jensen Barton distributed the offense with 34 assists. She kept the Wildcats off-balance with five players including herself recording between 11 and 31 attacks. Senior Addy Lofstedt wound up leading the 'Jacks in kills with nine and hit a robust .500. Redshirt sophomore Kaylie Jorgenson was right behind with eight and Barton herself was third on the team with seven on 11 attempts.
Along with NAU's balanced attack in system, the Lumberjacks won the service game with nine aces. Dorsey and Barton accounted for two-thirds of NAU's total with three apiece. With her three aces, Dorsey now has 52 this season and moved up to third all-time in school history for a single season.
NAU's service game was key in overcoming a rapid 5-0 Weber State start to the match. Barton recorded consecutive aces to cut the Wildcats' lead to 6-4, and the 'Jacks managed to snag a four-point lead at 19-15 following a Jorgenson kill. Weber State immediately answered with a 4-1 run and then staved off two set points down 24-22. Forced to go extras, Lofstedt eventually slammed a kill and junior Brooke Donnelly finished the set with NAU's fourth ace of the set to close the match's tightest set.
After Weber State used a 5-0 run to pull in front 12-10 in the second set, NAU gained control with the score tied midway at 15-15. A Wildcat service error and attack error preceded a kill from Akin and that was all the cushion the Lumberjacks needed. The Lumberjacks would close strong and fast on a 6-2 run with Barton putting a bow tie on the game with two of her patented dump shots.
The Lumberjacks more than carried that momentum into the third set as they immediately put five points on the board with Dorsey contributing a pair of aces before the Wildcats called a quick timeout. The lead grew to 9-2 and NAU led wire-to-wire to complete the sweep.
Led by four blocks from Dorsey, NAU's block was key in slowing down Weber State after the Wildcats hit .294 in the first set. The Wildcats proceeded to hit just .162 and -.036 in the final two games. Redshirt freshman Hannah Cherry anchored the back line with a career-high 16 digs.
"This is our identity," Murphy said. "Along with the distribution, the way we played defense and the way we served, we improved with each set. That's another trait of a team who is figuring out how to be successful."
NAU plays its final road match of the regular season at Idaho State on Saturday at 6 p.m. Arizona time.