The Northern Arizona volleyball team complemented a strong defensive performance with a balanced attack to sweep Seton Hall, 25-12, 25-20, 25-12, in the opening match of the Seton Hall Classic Friday morning. The Lumberjacks (2-2) hit .241 as a team and held the Pirates to a .026 clip in the brisk 80-minute match in their home opener.

Later Friday, despite having five players in double-figure kills for the first time in nearly 15 years, the Lumberjacks fell short against Northeastern, 25-21, 12-25, 22-25, 25-21, 16-14. The loss dropped the Lumberjacks' record to 2-3 overall.

Senior Sydney Lema recorded her first double-double of the season with 10 kills and as many digs while hitting .360 in the first match. She was one of three Lumberjacks with double-digit digs, as freshman libero Jasmine West totaled 19 and freshman outside hitter Taylor Jacobsen followed with 14.

The trio helped the Lumberjacks to a season-best 62 digs in Friday's opening match, while senior Abby Akin was a defensive force at the net in posting seven blocks. Two of her seven rejections were of the solo variety, and Northern Arizona notched a commanding 9-3 blocks advantage. That resulted in Seton Hall's .026 attack percentage, which was by far the lowest from an opponent through the first four matches of the fall.

Lema tallied five kills on seven swings in the final set of the opening match and Jacobsen clinched Northern Arizona's second victory of the season with her second service ace on match point. The Lumberjacks had seven aces in the match, with Aubrea Bandfield recording her second three-ace performance across four matches. Bandfield also led the Lumberjacks with 15 assists, with senior Abby Stomp adding 14.

Meanwhile, in Friday's loss, Stomp and Bandfield set Northern Arizona to its best offensive performance of the young season and both players set season highs in assists. Stomp led with 30, while Bandfield notched a career-high 28.

Northern Arizona outhit Northeastern .373-.226 and also held advantages in kills (68-66), blocks (8-5) and digs (74-65). Northeastern, however, was plus-five in the ace column (10-5).

The Huskies led 9-6 in final game before Lumberjacks middle blocker Victoria Ewalefo and opposite hitter Heaven Harris pushed the Lumberjacks forward. Ewalefo blocked consecutive Northeastern attacks to tie the decider at 9-9, and Harris terminated three straight balls to cap a 6-1 run that gave her team a 12-10 lead.

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The Huskies managed to bring the score even again though at 13-13, only for Jacobsen and Akin to combine for a block to put the Lumberjacks at match point. Northeastern staved off the ensuing match point by sending back Lumberjacks attack before clinching the victory with two straight kills.

Northern Arizona will face La Salle today at 1:30 p.m. in its final match at the Seton Hall Classic.


The Lumberjacks (2-1-1) suffered their first loss of the season against the University of Southern California (4-0) Friday on the road, 3-0.

The visiting Trojans didn't get on the board until the second half.

The offense for the Jacks took a total of four shots, one shot-on-goal, and one corner. Paige Maling, Madison Montgomery, Mei-Te Coco and Rylee Mitchell each took one shot out of the four. Mitchell recorded her first shot-on-goal of the season against USC.

Taryn Benham saved her first shot-on-goal at the 19th minute of the game, when USC’s Natalie Jacobs kicked the ball toward the bottom right of the net. Benham continued to record a total of four saves after facing seven shots-on-goal.

Northern Arizona will be back in action Sunday at 1 p.m. for a road match.

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