Volleyball takes care of business in Flagstaff
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Northern Colorado volleyball had little to play for in its regular-season finale Saturday night at Northern Arizona.
But the Bears, who on Friday night got locked into the No. 2 seed in next week's Big Sky Championship after Portland State's home victory, still took care of business in a 3-1 road victory.
Sophomore Kelley Arnold recorded her 11th double-double this year with 17 kills, 11 digs and seven blocks for Northern Colorado (23-6, 14-2), and seniors Julie Stephenson (12 kills, nine digs) and Ashley Lichtenberg (10 kills, .412 hitting) backed her.
The Bears' 25-20, 17-25, 25-20, 25-18 victory was their fourth straight against the Lumberjacks (10-16, 6-10), pushed their already school-record NCAA Division I wins mark to 23 and gave them a share of this year's Big Sky Conference regular-season title.
"I thought we progressively got better throughout the match and by the end had a good championship mentality in a match that will prepare us for the tournament," Northern Colorado coach Lyndsey Benson said.
"It was good that NAU battled. They played really well and tested us. That's what we need headed into next weekend."
The Bears hit just .234 through the first two games in earning a split before intermission. They came out of the break with a renewed intensity, hitting .342 in games three and four.
Sophomore setter Marissa Hughes turned in a great match, dishing out 45 assists to go along with seven kills, six digs, three aces and three blocks. She also didn't commit an error in her 11 attack swings, leaving her with a .636 hitting percentage.
Northern Colorado, last year's Big Sky Conference Champions, will now take a week off before traveling to Portland, Ore., on Thanksgiving Thursday to compete in the Big Sky Championship at the Stott Center.
The Bears will take on third-seed Idaho State (18-12, 9-7) at 6:30 (MT) Friday, Nov. 26, and then, with a win, would take on either the Vikings or fourth-seed Montana in the championship at 7 p.m. Saturday night.