Lumberjacks volleyball drops senior night match to Bears
NAU volleyball started the season with one of the best records in the nation and set a school record of 12 consecutive wins. The Lumberjacks followed that up with a pair of losing streaks to end the season on a disappointing note.
With the chance to get to the Big Sky volleyball tournament out of reach, the Jacks (15–10, 6–10 Big Sky) entered their last match against the regular season Big Sky Champions, the Northern Colorado (UNC) Bears (20–8, 13–3 BSC), and lost 3–1.
Saturday’s performance against UNC was dedicated to the senior class, middle blocker Katie Bailey, and outside hitters Kobi Christensen and Samantha Hodgkins. Christensen and Hodgkins were unable to perform in the last game of their career because of injury, but supported Bailey from the bench, who recorded nine kills in the final game.
“I have mixed emotions,” said Bailey. “I have been playing volleyball year-round for the last nine years and not having it is definitely going to be hard, and I will miss it. I am looking forward to starting this new chapter of my life and being able to try some new things.”
Christensen, who was injured for the second half of the season, tallied 146 kills on the season, ranking No. 5 on the team for total kills.
“An injury put an end to my career here at NAU,” Christensen said. “I have mixed emotions from Saturday because this was my very last time I put on that NAU jersey. Not being able to play and represent my school one last time was very difficult. But, I know [that] I have worked hard, as hard as I could, and did all that I could do.”
Hodgkins, the Phoenix native, saw action in 24 matches during her career, but did not get the opportunity to suit up this season because she was recovering from a shoulder surgery she had last year.
Hodgkins has no regrets about her career at NAU and looks forward to the future.
“These past 4 years have flown by so quickly and the emotions are definitely bittersweet,” Hodgkins said. “Sad that I had two shoulder surgeries which took 23 months out of the almost 48 months I have been here at NAU, which hindered me from playing. On the other hand, I am happy because I am ready to finish my college degree and become that Special Education teacher that I have always dreamed of being.”
The Bears started the match strong, winning the first set 25–20. The Lumberjacks took the second stanza 25–17, battling the champs and averaging a .375 hitting percentage. The third frame was the Bears’ best, defeating the Lumberjacks 25–19 and totaling 17 kills. The Jacks held a lead through the final set, but a Bears 7–0 run ended the set 25–19, and the match 3–1.
Junior libero Anna Gott notched 30 digs against the Bears and moved to second all-time in career digs at NAU with 1,305. Gott ended the season with 465 total digs and is 245 digs away from the top spot, currently held by Chelsea Robb.