NAU left Missoula, Montana earning its third straight win against the Montana Grizzlies Thursday night. The previous matchup between Montana and NAU resulted in a five-set Lumberjack win. History repeated itself as the Lumberjacks won 3-2 in sets.
Montana came out strong with a ton of energy to take an early 10-4 lead in the first set, which caused NAU to call its first timeout. NAU attempted to gain momentum, but Montana strolled to a 20-14 lead. A late comeback by NAU was eventually stalled as Montana won 25-20. Junior opposite hitter Heaven Harris led the way for the Lumberjacks with 4 kills.
NAU called its second timeout as the Grizzlies took an 11-9 lead in the second set. The Lumberjacks offense really picked up as they established a 22-19 lead. A huge block by senior middle blocker Abby Akin gave the Lumberjacks a much needed set win 25-21. Harris continued to lead the Lumberjacks offensively with 7 kills. Freshman outside hitter Taylor Jacobsen was right behind Harris with 5 kills of her own.
After a slow start to the third set, a kill by Jacobsen had the Lumberjacks on a roll as they led 12-9 in the third set. NAU started to dominate as it pulled away late with a 23-16 lead and eventually won 25-17, taking a commanding 2-1 set lead.
Montana led 11-7 after a strong start to the fourth set. The Grizzlies found their groove, extending their lead 15-8. Montana controlled the set from start to finish as they held off a late Lumberjack surge to win 25-17 and force a fifth set.
NAU jumped to an early 8-5 lead in the fifth set. The Lumberjacks held strong as they went on to win the fifth set 15-10. Harris had a monster game with 19 kills. Jacobsen and sophomore outside hitter Ryann Davis each had 10 kills for the Lumberjacks.
The team improved to 17-10 overall and 10-5 in conference play with the win against Montana. NAU will travel to Bozeman, Montana where it will play the Montana State University Bobcats Saturday, which will be its last road conference game of the season.