For the second time this weekend the Northern Arizona volleyball team went the distance only to fall short as the Lumberjacks suffered a 22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-27, 18-16 defeat to Sacramento State on Saturday. The road loss evened the Lumberjacks’ conference record to 2-2 and dropped their overall record to 9-7.
Of Northern Arizona’s seven losses, five have come in five sets. In three of their five-set losses, the Lumberjacks came up shy by two points in the decisive set.
The Lumberjacks were held under .200 hitting for the fourth consecutive match, with Abby Akin pacing the team with 12 kills while attacking at a .455 clip. Akin tied a season-best with four aces and also tied for team-leading honors with four blocks -- a number matched by freshman Neche Newton and redshirt freshman Morgan Gappmayer.
Sacramento State attacked at a .246 clip and posted 79 kills to just 46 for Northern Arizona. Both teams posted nine blocks.
Despite tallying five kills in the first set, the Lumberjacks claimed the opener. Sacramento State committed nine attack errors and seven service errors, while Northern Arizona helped its cause with four aces. Akin spurred a crucial 4-0 run with Northern Arizona leading 5-4 to give the Lumberjacks some cushion. Akin contributed a kill and two of her three first-set aces during the spurt and NAU held off a late Sacramento State run to steal the first game.
An 8-0 Sacramento State run snapped an 8-8 tie and the Hornets evened the match with a commanding second set.
You have free articles remaining.
After the Hornets forced a quick Lumberjack timeout leading 6-1 to start the third set, the Jacks stormed back with sophomore Aubrea Bandfield at the service line. Bandfield served her team on a 5-0 run to slice the deficit to 10-9, only for Sacramento State to respond with a 6-2 run. Freshman Taylor Jacobsen connected on a kill to bring Northern Arizona within 17-14 before Sacramento State closed the game on an 8-2 run.
Northern Arizona needed three set points to finish the fourth set despite holding a seven-point advantage. Sophomore Ryann Davis and Akin capped the game with kills to send the match to a winner-take-all fifth game.
The Lumberjacks used four consecutive attack errors by the Hornets to snag an initial 4-2 lead in the fifth, but the Hornets held the 8-7 edge at the changeover. Sacramento State finished the match with back-to-back kills to deny Northern Arizona of its first win in the Nest since 2011.
Bandfield was one of three Lumberjacks in double-digit digs and posted her third double-double of the season with 15 assists and 10 digs. Freshman Jasmine West led the team with 24 digs -- her fourth 20-dig outing in the last five matches -- and junior Olivia Turner recorded a career-high 19 digs.
Northern Arizona returns home to the Rolle Activity Center to host Montana State Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The Lumberjacks will follow with Montana on Saturday at 1 p.m.