Volleyball Wins Inaugural Big Sky Match, 3-1 Over NAU
Sept. 14, 2006
GREELEY, Colo. - After dropping the first set the University of Northern Colorado women's volleyball team rebounded to win three straight sets and defeat Northern Arizona University 3-1 (22-30, 30-25, 30-24, 30-21) in its inaugural Big Sky Conference matchup on Thursday night.
Playing in front of a home crowd for the first time this season, Northern Colorado (4-6, 1-0 Big Sky) battled the visiting Lumberjacks (4-6, 0-1) toe-to-toe for most of the first game. But after the set was tied at 18, NAU went on a 5-0 run and scored 12 of the set's final 16 points to take a 1-0 advantage.
The Bears, who entered the match only 2-20 over the last two seasons when dropping the opening set, fought back by taking game two thanks to an improved hitting percentage and reduced errors from game one.
NAU countered by controlling the opening portion of game No. 3 before a late Bears push put them up two games to one. Northern Colorado opened the decisive set on fire, leading 12-4 on its way to the easy set victory. The Bears held the 'Jacks to only .028 (10-9-36) hitting in the final set.
"This really helps us set the tone for the Big Sky season," second-year head coach Lyndsey Benson said after the match. "I thought we were aggressive the entire match. Even after dropping the first set, we can back even stronger and held that aggressiveness the entire match."
Junior Dulcie Stone had career bests in both kills (16) and digs (16) to pace the Bears. Senior Meredith Alder also had a career-high in kills (16) while hitting a season-high .414 (16-4-29). Freshman Devon Crotteau added 13 kills.
Junior Abby Mayne had a team-high 17 digs, pushing her career total to 1,010, making her the 18th member of the program's 1,000-Dig Club. She is only one dig out of 17th place in program history.
Freshman Breanna VanDerMost added 12 digs.
Northern Arizona was led by 16 kills from Kim Babcock; Brittany Stowers added 23 digs.
The match was played in the Campus Recreation Center because renovations to Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion are currently not completed. The Bears are scheduled to be back in Butler-Hancock for its next home conference match (Sept. 28 vs. Montana State). Northern Colorado is now 12-2 all-time in the Rec Center.
The Bears are now 26-5 all-time in home openers, having won five in a row.
The meeting with NAU was the first between the teams since Oct. 1978; the all-time series is now tied 2-2. The teams will meet on Oct. 21 in Flagstaff.
Northern Colorado will play its first-ever Big Sky road match on Saturday night when it travels to Idaho State. ISU (5-8) defeated Eastern Washington 3-1 in its Big Sky opener on Thursday night.