NAU came into Saturday's match at Eastern Washington University (EWU) looking to rebound after a four-set loss to the University of Idaho. NAU was 3-4 in conference play entering the match and tied with three other schools for sixth place. EWU was 1-6 in the conference and tied with the University of Montana in tenth place.
The match began with NAU on absolute fire. An early 8-2 run by the Lumberjacks forced EWU to call their first timeout. NAU continued to roll in the first set as they were up 19-8, which induced a second EWU timeout. The Lumberjacks took a 1-0 lead with a 25-14 set win. Sophomore outside hitter Ryann Davis led offensively with 4 kills.
After a back-and-forth start to the second set, EWU took a 12-9 lead. Neither team gained momentum in the second set as it came down to the wire with the set all tied up at 20. NAU retook the lead 21-20, forcing EWU to call another timeout. Five straight points after the timeout gave EWU a 25-21 set win. Freshman outside hitter Taylor Jacobsen continued to have a nice all-around game for the Lumberjacks, leading her team with 7 kills, 8 digs and 1 block.
Back-to-back points by NAU gave them a three-point lead as EWU trailed 10-7 early in the third set. NAU completely dominated the second half of the third set as they won 25-11, giving them a 2-1 advantage. Jacobsen led NAU again with 10 kills and 3 blocks. Davis was right behind with 9 kills.
NAU continued to ride its momentum by picking up an early 10-4 advantage in the fourth set. The Eagles responded after being down early, as it tied the set at 18.
EWU answered with a strong offense, leading the score 22-18 and forcing a Lumberjack break. Two consecutive NAU points out of the timeout forced EWU to call one of their own as the game was tied again at 22.
The Lumberjacks went on a 5-0 run to finish the fourth set as it held on to win 25-22, capped off by a huge kill by senior middle blocker Abby Akin. Jacobsen led NAU offensively with 15 combined kills in the match. Davis and Akin tied for second with 12 kills. Akin had a huge game defensively finishing with 6 blocks.
With the four-set victory, NAU now moves to 11-9 overall and 4-4 in conference play. EWU moves to 3-17 overall and 1-7 in the conference.
Following the match against EWU, NAU will complete their three-game road trip by playing Southern Utah University Monday at 5:30 p.m.