Volleyball ends four-match skid with victory over Montana State
NAU traveled to Montana riding a three-game skid and extended it to four after dropping their first match of the weekend to Montana, but broke the streak with a victory over Montana State.
The Jacks persistent hitting, solid defense and a season high of 95 digs helped NAU improve their record to 14–5 on the season and 5–5 in the Big Sky Conference.
The Jacks ended their weekend in Bozeman against the Bobcats. NAU dropped the first set of the match 25–18, and posted a .000 hitting percentage. The Jacks entered the second set and eventually tied the Bobcats 14–14. NAU went on an 11–6 run and finished the set 25–20.
Volleyball entered unfamiliar territory in the third set when the team went back-and-forth with Montana State ending the stanza with extra points, as NAU was able to squeeze out a 29–27 set victory. In another neck-and-neck set, NAU rode a 6–0 run to down the Bobcats 25–18, finishing them off 3–1. Dominant hitting, led by junior outside hitter Lexi Sullivan with 14 kills, was key the whole night as NAU hit .231, their best percentage in a month.
“It was amazing to know that we could come together as a team and pull everything together,” said junior outside hitter Jen Wilson. “Everyone played well that night and played with so much fire.”
The Lumberjacks hitting struggles continued through the first match of their weekend. This proved to be the difference as the Jacks dropped their fifth contest of the season to the Grizzlies 3–1. The road trip started slow when the Lumberjacks quickly fell behind 2–0 to the Bobcats. The Lumberjacks then came out of the intermission on fire. NAU won the third set 25–9 with a .545 hitting percentage, while holding Montana to a -.091 percentage and forcing a fourth set.
NAU looked to take control of the momentum when they were up by five points halfway through the fourth set, but could not maintain the pace and dropped the stanza 25–23.
“Even though we can’t change the past now I think we’re finally over whatever has been bothering our team,” said freshmen middle blocker, Sydney Kemper.
The Jacks will be home this weekend as they face the Sacramento State Hornets (SSU), who they previously beat this season 3–2 back in September. SSU fell victim to NAU’s best hitting percentage, .291, against a conference opponent so far this season. It was also the first time NAU had ever won in Sacramento in the programs history.
“We really need this win against Sacramento State,” said junior defensive specialist Lexie Schroeder.