Dallmann earns 2nd MVP, Jacks add another trophy
Although both tournaments so far have been away instead of at home, and with a new team, in similar fashion to this past season Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) women’s volleyball team has now improved their 2012 season record to 6–0 after clinching the Omni Hotels Colorado Volleyball Classic tournament in Boudler, Colo.
“It was fun,” head coach Craig Choate said. “It was interesting. It was tougher competition than the first weekend. Fresno State was really, really good. That was one hard match for us to win. It was actually tougher than the Colorado match, which surprised me.”
After their play this past weekend against California State University-Fresno, host University of Colorado-Boulder and Cornell University, the team has continued to prove their strength in their pre-conference matchups.
With contributions all around, a strong defensive weekend for the Lumberjacks allowed their offensive attackers to continue to dominate. Much like the weekend before, the squad executed impressive performances by senior outside hitter Kelli Dallmann, who earned her second consecutive MVP award, sophomore middle blocker Sydney Kemper and freshman outside hitter Janae Vander Ploeg. Overcoming dropping their first set in their first two matches against Fresno State (19–25, 25–21, 25–21, 25–21) and Colorado (24–26, 25–21, 25–22, 25–19), the squad would claim the consecutive three sets to take the match and close out the weekend with a sweep of Cornell in just three sets (25–16, 25–20, 25–17).
“At practice, we’re just working hard,” Dallmann said. “It’s volleyball. We’re all just playing and doing our thing.”
Senior libero Anna Gott controlled the back row with 55 digs overall on the weekend, earning All-Tournament team honors, easing the job of sophomore setter Kalee Kirby who set up her hitters, tallying 129 assists in the tournament. Kemper helped out defensively and offensively, totaling 13 blocks and 25 kills overall. Dallmann converted 41 kills on 111 attempts improving her overall hitting percentage to .275.
“It was a really good tournament for us,” Dallmann said. “We had a lot of fun out there, playing a PAC-12 team. It was so much fun. Everyone did their job and when that happens, good things happen.”
Vander Ploeg returned to her home state with a bang, in only her second appearance as a Lumberjack received her second consecutive All–Tournament honors, recording 42 kills on 120 attempts, 4 blocks and 27 digs for the weekend.
“Just going for everything and not letting anything hit the floor,” Vander Ploeg said about her strong defensive play. “It helps me a lot because Anna [Gott] is such a good leader for defense and just telling me where to be and what to do, so it helps a ton.”
NAU will be back on the road for its third consecutive away tournament this Friday, Sept. 7 in the Molten Classic Presented by Hilton Garden Inn in Berkeley, Calif., at 5 p.m. to face University of California Riverside and then continue its play on Saturday against University of Pennsylvania and host No. 25 University of California Berkeley.