The Northern Arizona volleyball team's five-match win streak was snapped by No. 11 Florida on Friday in a 25-14, 25-17, 25-13 loss in a nightcap meeting between the two teams.
Northern Arizona (7-4) split the first two matches of the Gators Invitational following its 3-0 morning victory over Louisiana.
"Florida played great," Lumberjacks head coach Ken Murphy said, "We tried some different things to get pressure on them and they just played at a high level. Honestly, they played better than any team we've played in recent memory. We struggled hitting the shots that we like to against them and we were a little disconnected. Our fight was good throughout the whole match, but the biggest thing was it was hard to break through."
The nationally ranked Gators avenged last season's loss to the Lumberjacks, who hit a season-low .053 hitting percentage in the loss. On the flip side, the Gators hit .333 and held an 8.5-1 blocks advantage.
Florida used a massive 9-0 run to break away from Northern Arizona, hitting .333 in the process to take the opening set. With the score tied at 5-5, the Gators scored nine straight before Lumberjacks outside hitter Sydney Lema halted the run. The Lumberjacks settled in, getting as close as 18-12, but the Gators' run was too much to overcome as Northern Arizona was limited to just .026 hitting.
Heaven Harris provided Northern Arizona with its only lead of the match with a kill on the opening point of the second set, and the Lumberjacks played the Gators tough throughout the early portion of the game. A kill by Ryann Davis kept Northern Arizona within striking distance down 11-9 before an ensuing 7-2 Florida run.
Harris led the Lumberjacks with six kills, while senior middle blocker Abby Akin and Lema each tallied five. Freshman libero Jasmine West recorded a match-high 17 digs.
Harris pounded 11 kills on .385 hitting to guide Northern Arizona to a gutsy 25-23, 25-21, 25-23 sweep of Louisiana in the first match of the Gators Invitational.
Louisiana outblocked the Jacks 9-5 in addition to holding the advantage in digs 60-56. But Lema also proved to be effective with seven kills on 18 swings without committing an error for a .389 attack percentage.
The Lumberjacks will play one more in Gainesville on Saturday against Liberty before returning home to start Big Sky Conference play. The Lady Flames, like the Lumberjacks, split their two tournament matches on Friday notching a five-set win against Louisiana.
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SWIM AND DIVE
Niamh McDonagh and Haley Mayhew tied for first Friday during the 24th annual Pentathlon. The two champions also recorded the same winning time during the 200-meter individual medley.
Historically, no two swimmers have tied for first in the final results or in an individual event.
McDonagh, the two-time defending champion, broke her previous winning time for the 200m IM of 2:24.80 this year, placing first again with her new time of 2:24.25. In addition to her win, the IM specialist placed third in 100m backstroke at 1:10.17 and fourth in the 100m breaststroke at 1:16.63. In the 100m freestyle she touched at 1:02.31, coming in sixth, and in the 100m butterfly she fell to seventh.
Mayhew is now the fourth newcomer in the last five years to win the Pentathlon. She placed in the top five in three more events, posting second in the 100m backstroke (1:09.45), third in the 100m breaststroke (1:15.36) and fourth in the freestyle (1:01.24).
Junior Maddie Seidl came in third overall, scoring just 20 points less than the two champions at 3,150. Seidl was shadowed by Mayhew and McDonagh during the 200m IM, coming in just four seconds after the co-champions at 2:28.45. In the second event, the 100m butterfly, she out-swam them, placing third with a time of 1:06.22.
Kate Bier, last year's butterfly runner-up at the Pentathlon, made her comeback this year in placing first in the 100m butterfly with a time of 1:05.45. Elisa Rodriguez came in just behind Bier at 1:06.07.
Rodriguez proceeded to set one of two Pentathlon meet records in the 100m freestyle, placing first with a time of 58.27. Although junior Miranda Nichols placed second, her time of 58.38 also bested the previous record of 59.01.
For the second year in a row, Hope Williams placed first in the 100m breaststroke. Fernanda Montiel repeated as the 100m backstroke winner, posting a time at 1:06.48.
In addition to Mayhew, four other freshmen competed in their first-ever Pentathlon. Sara Jendbro posted the second-best time in the 100m breaststroke at 1:14.78 and recorded the fifth-fastest time in the 200m IM at 2:29.59. Lainie Bell came in sixth in the backstroke coming in at 1:11.27. Iliana Moore also raced well, posting a seventh-place finish in the breaststroke and eighth in the freestyle.