The Northern Arizona volleyball team hit a season-low .089 on Friday in Tempe and fell in their Sparky Classic opener to Arizona State, 23-25, 25-16, 26-24, 25-17 in the Wells Fargo Arena.
The Lumberjacks posted 11 team blocks in the defeat, but could not overcome offensive struggles in falling to 7-4.
"I give credit to ASU because they played really good defense," said Lumberjacks head coach Ken Murphy. "They blocked well today and neutralized some of the things we try to do well. That led us to some points where we were frustrated, and we weren't able to get into a better rhythm. That impacted the flow of the match."
Ryann Davis totaled 12 kills, the best of the freshman's young career, and was the only Lumberjack with double-digit kills. She was also the only Jack to hit over .200 for the match.
Northern Arizona struck first, claiming the opening set behind a stout block that limited Arizona State to a .133 first-set clip. The Lumberjacks' sixth block on set point courtesy of Brittni Dorsey and Heaven Harris staked them to the early advantage.
The Sun Devils evened the match at 1-1 with a dominant second-set run. Behind a .314 attack clip, Arizona State rebounded from its first-set loss with an 11-2 run that broke open a tight set two. Northern Arizona trailed 12-11 before Arizona State scored four straight. After a Davis kill briefly ended the run, the Sun Devils scored seven of the next eight points and rolled into set three.
Northern Arizona had a chance late in the third set to put Arizona State against the wall after leading throughout when Harris gave her team set point with a kill at 24-22. Arizona State, however, reversed the tide by rattling off the final four points to steal the set away.
With the Lumberjacks down early, 10-6, in the fourth set, junior Abby Stomp served her team back into the contest with a 6-0 surge. The Lumberjacks run, aided by four Sun Devil attack errors, initially shifted the momentum back in the road team's favor only for Arizona State to seize it right back. Six straight points of their own erased a 14-12 Northern Arizona lead -- the Lumberjacks' last of the match -- and Arizona State closed out the in-state battle with a flurry of five points.
Akin's had team-high five blocks, and all six of Northern Arizona's front-row players tallied multiple blocks as Arizona State hit .197 -- the ninth time an opponent has hit below .200 in 11 matches.
One match after joining the 1,000 dig club, senior Jordan Anderson moved up five spots into the top 10 all-time in program history with her fifth 20-dig match of the season. With 22 digs, Anderson now resides in ninth in school history with 1,033 digs.
Northern Arizona will try to snap a two-match losing streak on Saturday with the first of two versus Texas State at 9:30 a.m. The Lumberjacks will close the Sparky Classic, and their nonconference slate, in the afternoon at 2:45 p.m. versus Gonzaga.
Senior Hanneke Lodewijks and junior Chiara Tomasetti continued their winning ways on the second day of the ITA Bedford Cup in the Mountains, playing their way into the Singles Flight A quarterfinals on Friday for the Lumberjacks.
Tomasetti picked up her second consecutive straight-set win in the round of 16, knocking off Montana State's Annie Walker, 6-3, 6-2. She is the only Northern Arizona women's tennis player to not drop a set in singles play through the first two days of competition at the Air Force Academy.
Lodewijks showed resolve, overcoming a first-set loss to move on in the winner's bracket of the main draw. She defeated Wyoming's Elisa Koonik, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
In the consolation bracket, sophomore Madi Moore earned a pair of singles victories over two Big Sky Conference opponents. After a quick 6-1, 6-3 win over Madeline Doherty of Northern Colorado, Moore prevailed in a three-set marathon match against Linnea Fristam of Montana State, 6-2, 2-6, 14-12. Also winning in three sets in the Flight A consolation was senior Eirene Granville in a 3-6, 6-3, 10-8 win against Idaho State's Louise Botes.
NAU started Friday's action with three doubles teams in the Flight A main draw, and had one -- Lodewijks and freshman Emilie Haakansson -- advance to the third round. Haakansson and Lodewijks defeated Northern Coorado's Anna Battersby and Sandra Keta, 8-1, but were subsequently handed a loss by Emily Strande and Anja Dokic of Boise State.
Tomasetti and freshman Adrianna Sosnowska moved into the consolation bracket after falling to a New Mexico duo, but rebounded to defeat Wyoming's Ana Royo and Mihaela Kaftanova by a score of 8-2.
Northern Arizona was not able to recover after an early goal from Arizona State University, leading to a 1-0 loss Friday night at Lumberjack Stadium.
With the loss, NAU fell to 4-3-1 on the season as they head into conference play next week, while the win pushed ASU to 4-2-0.
"We were chasing the game for a little bit too long," said Lumberjacks head coach Andre Luciano. "The sophistication level of ASU's players was apparent."
Arizona State came out fast and strong as they got their first shot off within the first 30 seconds of the game. Soon after, in the fifth minute, the Sun Devils were able to connect off the foot of Marleen Schimmer for a goal.
From that point on, the Lumberjacks were able to settle in. Northern Arizona's best chance of the half came shortly after the ASU goal when Victoria Cooper was able to get a shot off on net. However, Sun Devils goalkeeper Nikki Panas made the save.
The second half was a stalemate as neither team was able to break through for a goal.
Although allowing the early goal, Taryn Benham had an impact on the match as she was able to come up with a career-high eight saves.
The Lumberjacks will be back in action next week, as they start conference play against Idaho State on Friday, Sept. 21, at 3 p.m. The Lumberjacks will finish off their weekend against Weber State on Sunday at 11 a.m.