It was all smiles on Saturday, Nov. 12, as the NAU women’s volleyball team took home their final home game of the season. Pushing the game against Idaho State to five sets, the team pulled together for the final set and won it all. For senior night in Flagstaff, it seems like a good way to end. The final scores were 25-15, 22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-4.
The win comes after a five-game slump for the Lumberjacks. Their last win was against Eastern Washington back in October. It was a return to form and an impressive performance, to say the least.
"We were disappointed with the way we played on Thursday,” head coach Ken Murphy said. “The main thing we wanted to do today was play with the right level of intensity and let the match take care of itself.. We did a great job of that most of the match. We had a letup in the second set and gave them momentum, and in the fourth set, I really liked the way we fought back.”
Before the game even started, the crowd and announcers took time to honor junior setter Kate Hatch and senior defensive specialist Jasmine West on their final home games. Hatch continued her assist run, as she scored 46 assists through the game. She now has three straight games with 30 or more.
Winning the first set was a good foot to step out on for NAU. The Lumberjacks had a commanding lead over the Bengals. NAU went on a four-point run, giving them an eight point advantage of 21-13.
Junior middle blockers, Jordan Elder and Savannah Hasson’s defense, along with senior middleblocker Neche Newton’s strike before the last two blocks, are what ultimately awarded NAU the set. The final score of set one was 25-15.
Coming into set two, NAU was looking to gain a significant lead but was unable to, as the Bengals went on two runs early on. The Lumberjacks started an eight-point run, giving them the lead with a score of 11-5.
The team was unable to keep the lead, however, as ISU caught up in the back half with a 4-0 run, both tying and taking the lead over the Lumberjacks. Idaho State took the set with a final score of 25-22.
Set three went similarly to the first. The Lumberjacks had an early advantage, with a score of 10-5. It didn’t take long for Idaho State to go on a 4-0 run, coming within one point of NAU at 10-9. Both teams prevented each other from scoring more than two points consecutively from this point on, until the Lumberjacks went on a 4-0 run, gaining the lead and bringing the scores to 23-16.
NAU won the set with a final 2-0 run after Idaho State got two points, bringing the final score to 25-18.
Set four could have been the final set of the night for NAU, but Idaho State came out with a massive five-point lead. The Lumberjacks kicked it into high gear when the score read 18-11 in favor of the Bengals, going on an 8-1 run and tying the score 19-19. The final stretch of the set saw both teams hunker down on defense and try to negate any points being scored.
Though Newton and Hasson were able to block an attempt by ISU, bringing the score to 24-23, the Bengals scored the final point they needed, ending the fourth set with a final score of 25-23.
The fifth and final set had palpable momentum and strength on the court. The home audience roared as NAU was dominant on the court. With a gap of four points as the two teams switched sides, the Lumberjack’s raced into a final 9-0 run. The final score was 15-4, ending a senior night and the final home game of the season with a win for NAU.
“It was a very good competition. I thought it was a really fun game to play, especially because we went to five and went to our advantage,” West said. “I think it was very fun for me and Kate to both get a win on senior night, knowing that we played a really hard game with each other in that this is the last time we’ll play together in Rolle.”
NAU will next face Idaho in Moscow on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. in its second to last game of the season.