Errors doom volleyball to winless weekend
The Lumberjacks returned home after a four game road trip and dropped each of their consecutive matches — a surprising turnaround after starting the season with a school record of 12 wins.
NAU ended the weekend swept in straight sets by Weber State (WSU), who picked up their first win of the season, moving the Wildcats to 1–19 overall.
“I don’t know [what happened],” said junior libero Anna Gott. “Three words and that’s all. We don’t know what’s going on.”
The Wildcats captured the first set with a score of 25–22. NAU tallied a higher hitting percentage (.333 vs. .300) through the first, but WSU edged NAU in kills (17 to 16) and total attacks (40–36).
“The problem is, if you look at the box score, it’s [that] our libero out-hit five of our hitters,” said head coach Craig Choate. “You can’t beat anybody when that happens.”
WSU set the tone in the second frame by averaging a .250 hitting percentage, compared to NAU’s -.057, helping WSU to a 25–17 set victory. Of the Lumberjacks 35 total attacks, eight were kills and they recorded 10 errors.
The final stanza for the Jacks ended 25–21 in favor of the Wildcats. WSU notched seven more kills than NAU and one less error, giving WSU a .214 hitting average, opposed to NAU’s .065.
“We need to come together more,” said freshman setter Kalee Kirby. “[We need to] figure out as a team what we are doing wrong, and we can find it again. I know we can.”
Kirby started as setter for the Jacks against the Wildcats, and junior setter Kelli Dallmann moved to the outside hitter role for the match. Kirby contributed 26 assists and five kills, and Dallmann added six kills and five digs. Despite the duo’s efforts, NAU averaged an 11.1 hitting percentage through the match.
The Lumberjacks began their weekend homestand hoping to get on track against the Idaho State (ISU) Bengals.
The Jacks lost their first home game of the season to the Bengals on Oct. 13 in four sets: 25–22, 25–19, 25–27 and 25–13.
NAU beat themselves against ISU with a combined 38 service and attack errors through the match. The mistakes caused the Jacks to post negative hitting percentages in two sets, -.086 in the second and -.031 in the fourth.
The third set came down to the wire as ISU went on a 4–1 run, putting the set score at 24–20. Freshman middle blocker Sydney Kemper tallied three consecutive kills to put the Jacks within one point. After a few ISU errors, senior middle blocker Katie Bailey scored a kill for the match point and forced one more set.
“I think we all need to step up our mental toughness and get back on track,” Gott said. “It’s going to be rough, but it’s conference.”