The Lumberjack Classic concluded Saturday with a matchup between the Fresno State Bulldogs and NAU women's volleyball. The Lumberjacks entered Saturday’s game with two sweeping wins the day before, including one against Louisiana State University.
The organized chaos in the Rolle Activity Center had died down since the big wins the night before, but it was clear that NAU carried their own energy on the court.
Competitive offenses on both sides of the net led to back and forth points. Each team had 11 kills but the Lumberjacks came out of the first set on top 25-17.
Senior middle blocker Abby Akin started the second set by being a wall at the net and directing her block to a vacant space on Fresno’s side.
NAU kept a steady 2-3 point lead through the second set. However, the Bulldogs racked up service aces, front row blocks and strategic tips to move ahead 19-16. Head coach Ken Murphy called a timeout for sophomore right side Ryann Davis to follow up with a kill.
After the score was tied at 20, the crowd picked up their roar to vocalize a disagreement with the referee about an attack error on Fresno’s junior outside hitter Desiree Sukhov. Ultimately, the point was stripped from the Bulldogs and a redo was called.
The tension through the net was heavy after the call but NAU battled to pick up the second set win with a score of 25-23.
“There’s different types of sets,” head coach Ken Murphy said. “Our second set was a little sloppy but we were able to regroup and head into a strong third set.”
The final set picked up pace compared to the previous two. NAU quickly found itself in a 21-11 lead. In the blink of an eye the Lumberjacks stole another win and became undefeated in their own classic by going 9-0 in sets.
“[This] will give us some confidence and give us more time during practice to work on our skills,” Murphy said. “We have areas we can still get better in … [This tournament] gave us a great place to jump off of.”
Gainsville, Florida will expect the Lumberjack’s presence Sept. 20-21 for the Florida Invitational. NAU will complete the tournament by playing the University of Florida. Last season, NAU upset the No. 8 ranked Gators in a five set match.