The NAU women's volleyball team and Sacramento State University, which both have 7-5 records in conference play, sought to leave the Rolle Activity Center with a win and move up in Big Sky rankings Thursday night.
NAU started strong early in the first set. The Lumberjacks were able to capitalize on the 10 attack errors committed by the Hornets. Strong serving was a key factor in the first set, with NAU scoring six points on serve aces. Four of those aces came from freshman outside hitter Taylor Jacobsen alone. The Lumberjacks were able to ride their dominance and won the first set 25-16.
NAU found its groove in the second set, and Jacobsen made her mark again, adding five more kills and tallying 15 total points in the first two sets. Sacramento State did not have an answer in set two, and the Lumberjacks were able to win easily with a score of 25-10.
With the Hornets down by two sets, they knew they had to come out aggressively in order to have a chance at winning the match. Sacramento State kept the game close in the third set, with both teams trading leads. But after some back-and-forth scoring for both teams, NAU took over once again. Senior middle blocker Abby Akin added to NAU's dominance with three aces of her own in the third set. NAU was able to dominate 25-15 and won the match.
The Lumberjacks ended the night with 12 aces, which is something head coach Ken Murphy was very pleased with.
“We have always felt that serving was a strength for us, and it got away from us for a little bit,” said Murphy. “The last two or three weeks ... I think we are starting to see it again. I hope tonight is a sign of something to come for us.”
Murphy also discussed a stellar performance from Jacobsen.
“She is a really outstanding player, and we know that she is a high-impact player for our team going forward,” said Murphy. “As a freshman, it just takes a little bit of time to get use to the [college] level. I think she is understanding the game better, and her potential is really high.”
The win gave the Lumberjacks a 15-10 record for the season, and they hope for another in their next home game against Portland State University on Saturday.