Volleyball road trip produces pair of wins, record-breaking performance
By Jasmyn Wimbish
Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) women’s volleyball team had a three-game road stand this past week where they picked up two out of three wins. During this time, senior libero Anna Gott put her name in the record books by achieving the most career digs for an NAU player when they played Portland State University (PSU). Gott’s current record is set at 1,582 digs, and still has 14 games left on the season to add a cushion to that record.
On Sept. 29, NAU took on the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Eagles. The Lumberjacks took a commanding 2-0 (25-22, 25-18) lead and jumped out to a 6-2 advantage in the third. The Eagles slowly started to chip away at the lead, eventually tying the game up at 15 apiece.
The Lumberjacks regained control and were up 24-21 and could put away the Eagles, but with some persistence, EWU refused to go down and fought off the Lumberjacks and several match points to win the set 30-28.
Going into the fourth set, the Lumberjacks found themselves behind 5-10. NAU tied the game at 15-15 and took control of the lead at 20-19. EWU tried to battle back, but it was the Lumberjacks who eventually came out on top finishing the set 28-26. Senior outside hitter Kelli Dallmann led the team with 16 kills and 13 digs, while Gott added to her newly set record tallying 28 digs on the evening.
“We were in control of that match, we were up 2-0 and we just let up there in the third set but regained control there back in the fourth set,” said head coach Craig Choate.
NAU couldn’t post a win against the PSU Vikings on Sept. 28, but Gott added a glimmer of excitement to the night. Although the team lost in three sets, (23-25, 18-25, 16-25) Gott broke the record for most career digs as a Lumberjack. The record was previously held by Chelsea Robb during her tenure as a Lumberjack in 1999-2002 with 1,549 digs. Going into the PSU match, Gott was 16 digs away from breaking that record. Not only did she break the record, she surpassed it by totaling 21 digs on the night.
“It feels pretty cool and it’s a great honor to have,” Gott said.
The Lumberjacks posted another road win against the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds. NAU was able to put away Southern Utah in four sets, (22-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-13). The middle blockers dominated the game with sophomore hitter Sydney Kemper tallying 14 kills and freshman Payton Bock adding another 13 kills to lead the Lumberjacks to victory.
Having a road stretch can take a toll on a team, but NAU managed to come away with two wins in three games.
“We have such a diverse group of girls and we don’t really rely on one person,” Gott said. “When someone is having an off night, we know that someone else will step up and we just work really well together.”
This puts the Lumberjacks at a 12-3 record overall and a 4-2 record within the Big Sky Conference. The Lumberjacks will take home court against Big Sky opponents Montana State and Montana on Oct. 4 and Oct. 6, respectively.
“We don’t really know what to expect; no game is going to be easy and being on the road is hard,” Choate said. “You don’t have much time to practice in between games, so we’re just looking forward to getting back to practice and focusing on the simple stuff.”