The Northern Arizona volleyball team rebounded from their lowest hitting percentage in nearly two months by posting their most efficient offensive performance of the season against Idaho State on Saturday in a 25-17, 25-21, 25-17 sweep. The Lumberjacks had four hitters hit above .350 and as a team posted a season-high .445 hitting percentage to move to complete the season sweep of the Bengals.
The Lumberjacks (12-13 overall, 8-6 Big Sky) committed just three attack errors – a single error in each set – in their first match with a .400 hitting percentage in more than a calendar year since sweeping San Francisco last Sept. 17. The effort came just two days after NAU hit only .148 versus Weber State.
Sophomore Abby Stomp recorded 43 assists – and was the only player in the match to record a double-double with 10 digs – as she effectively kept the Bengals off balance with her distribution. NAU tallied 52 kills, its most in a three-set match this season, with redshirt junior Kaylie Jorgenson leading all players with 16 kills on .366 hitting.
Freshman Heaven Harris and sophomore Abby Akin added 12 and 11 kills, respectively, without committing an error, while redshirt junior Brittni Dorsey recorded kills on all five of her swings.
Jorgenson got NAU's first home sweep of the season going with nine first-set kills. Five of her kills came during a game-changing 9-2 run that turned a one-point Lumberjack lead into a 19-11 advantage. The Lumberjacks were red-hot hitting .500 in the opener while compiling 19 kills in the first set.
NAU appeared to be well on its way to sweep, leading 18-11 in the third set, but Idaho State refused to go quietly. The Bengals roared back to get within 19-16, but with junior Jordan Anderson at the service line, NAU used a 5-0 run to pull away. During the run, the Lumberjacks were aided by four Bengal errors.
NAU faces a challenging upcoming split week by first traveling to face North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D., on Thursday before returning home next Saturday versus Southern Utah for Senior Day at 1 p.m. in the Rolle Activity Center.
SWIM AND DIVE
The Northern Arizona swimming and diving team won the first four events and 13 in all to ensure that Senior Day was a success in a commanding 173-122 victory over Idaho. The win was NAU's third straight dual meet victory in a row to open the season, accomplishing the feat for the first time in four years.
Claire Hammond, Roni Houck, Allison Mann, Audrey Mann, Kimmy Richter and Alina Staffeldt were all honored during the meet, and Senior Day proved to be a highlight with the Lumberjacks' dominance over the Vandals – a team they will see again in February at the WAC Championships.
Houck, Richter and Staffeldt accounted for four of NAU's 13 event wins, with Richter winning a pair of events in the 200 and 500 freestyles.
Considering it was Senior Day, an added bonus was that the NAU divers – who do not have a senior among their unit providing not only a bright present but an even brighter future – continued their early season superiority picking up two more victories on the springboards. The Lumberjacks are now a perfect six-for-six in dual meet diving events.
The Lumberjacks swept the top spots in the 200 medley relay to open the meet and they were off to the races. Freshman Sarah O'Connor, freshman Niamh McDonagh, Richter and junior Andrea Schmidt clocked a winning time of 1:47.28 with NAU's 'B' team finishing right behind at 1:47.73 ahead of Idaho's 'A' relay.
By the time the Vandals posted their first event victory in the 100 breaststroke, NAU was already ahead 53-21. Schmidt and freshman Maddie Seidl responded by going one-two in the 200 fly and the Lumberjacks closed the first half of the meet with freshman Elisa Rodriguez, Staffeldt and sophomore Fernanda Montiel going one-two-three in the 50 free.
After Kurach's near record performance on 1-meter, Houck (52.39) and O'Connor (2:06.22) won the 100 free and 200 back respectively. Idaho claimed the 200 breast, only for the Lumberjacks to go one-two in the next two events. Richter posted her second event victory of the day with a time of 5:06.13 in the 500 free with Milewski in second, and Staffeldt touched the wall in 57.49 to win the 100 fly with Schmidt behind her.
The Lumberjacks will have next week off before they split for the first time this season. The swimmers will head to Las Cruces, N.M. for a two-day meet against New Mexico State on Nov. 17-18, while the divers will remain at home by hosting the Lumberjack Diving Invitational from Nov. 17-19.