After going 0-2 in their recent road trip, the NAU women’s volleyball team looked to turn things around. NAU played the Montana State University (MSU) Bobcats Thursday at the Rolle Activity Center, which was filled with excitement from the hometown fans. Unfortunately, it was not enough as MSU dug out the win in five sets.
The Lumberjacks started slow and could not get any momentum offensively in the first set. The team relied on the attack of senior middle blocker Abby Akin, as she led the team with five kills in the first set and was responsible for six of the teams 18 points.
Even with the early struggles, NAU was able to scratch and claw their way back to a 24-24 tie late in the set.
Though the Lumberjacks fought hard to try and steal the first set, the Bobcats were able to put two straight points together and take the win.
With their backs against the wall, the Lumberjacks had to find a way to win set two, or it would be a much harder hill to climb.
In what became a common theme, Akin was a continuous force in every way possible. She led the team with eight kills and nine and a half points in the second set alone.
The Lumberjacks dominated this time around, winning the second set 25-14.
Sets three and four were back-and-forth contests. MSU won the third, and NAU won the fourth in dramatic fashion. Both teams were tied 24-24 at one point before the Lumberjacks were able to complete the fourth set victory.
With the match tied at two sets each, both teams headed into the fifth and final set looking to earn a hard-fought win.
The fifth set brought out the most emotion and drama throughout the entire game. The Lumberjacks got an early lead before the Bobcats began fighting their way back, getting the game to a 15-15 tie score.
But when the pressure was at its highest, the Lumberjacks could not get it done, as they lost the final set 17-15, which gave the team their first loss at home this season.
“I thought there were these stretches where we had a lot of unforced errors,” head coach Ken Murphy said. “We were kind of our own worst enemy. I thought the girls played great and when they are playing as well as they are, you gotta minimize that stuff.”
The Lumberjacks will look to bounce back from this tough loss in their next game Saturday against the University of Montana Grizzlies at home.