A promising season for NAU Volleyball has come to an end early as they fell in a four-set rout at the hands of the No. 1 team in the Big Sky Conference in Weber State University.
Limiting the unforced errors was the name of the game for the Lumberjacks entering their semifinal matchup against Weber State in the Big Sky Volleyball Conference Tournament.
Entering the match, NAU was the only team to defeat the Wildcats as they won a four-set match at home back on March 7.
In close sets, the Lumberjacks were known to make self-inflicted mistakes, such as missed serves and attacks going out of bounds, but they limited those in the first set as they put Weber State on upset alert with a 25-23 opening-set win. NAU only committed two errors in the set while Weber State committed seven. Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Jacobsen and freshman outside hitter Lyla Hollis combined for eight kills in the set.
However, the mistake-free play was short-lived as the Lumberjacks committed seven in the third set. In order to beat Weber State, NAU had to be perfect and they were anything but for the remainder of the match.
The Wildcats locked down play inside the 10-foot line as senior middle blocker Sam Schiess and redshirt sophomore middle blocker Emma Mangum stuffed the Lumberjacks any time an attack came within their reach.
When it rains, it pours, and the mistakes might as well have culminated into an early monsoon for the Flagstaff-based squad as NAU totaled 18 errors in the final two sets.
Add that to a hitting percentage of .082 and that creates a recipe for failure, especially against a team as good as Weber State.
NAU failed to reach the 20-point mark in the final three sets, which was only the second time this season the Lumberjacks failed to score 20+ points in all three sets they lost in a single match (Jan. 25 vs. Sacramento State).
The Lumberjacks’ season comes to an end with a 10-6 record, but the future's still bright for an incredibly young squad that only had one senior on their roster. Want even more good news for NAU volleyball?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic messing with plans of NCAA athletes, senior outside hitter Heaven Harris has the option of returning for another season. Barring transfers, the Lumberjacks can return everyone for the fall 2021 season.
Weber State moves on to the finals where they will take on the winner of the other semifinal match between No. 2 Northern Colorado and No. 6 Southern Utah on Friday at 7 p.m. MST.