Oct. 6, 2012
Northern Arizona needed just 70 minutes to hand the Montana volleyball team a quick 25-8, 25-11, 25-20 loss Saturday night at the Rolle Activity Center at Flagstaff, Ariz. The loss was the fourth straight and eighth in nine matches for the Grizzlies.
The Lumberjacks (14-3, 6-2 BSC) hit a remarkable .604 in the first two sets and finished at .471 for the match, a season high for a Montana (3-14, 1-7 BSC) opponent this fall. The 39 points scored by the Grizzlies was an NAU record for fewest points allowed in the 25-point scoring era.
"I'm getting tired of doing it, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Northern Arizona is playing like a juggernaut right now," said UM coach Jerry Wagner, whose team lost in three sets at Southern Utah Thursday.
"We're running into good teams right now and not matching their intensity. We allowed both of the teams on this road trip to just outplay us."
Montana was within 8-6 in the opening set and 6-4 in the second set before Northern Arizona put on hitting clinics that produced set-closing runs of 17-2 and 19-7.
In the first two sets the Lumberjacks had 30 kills and just a single hitting error on 48 attacks.
On the other side of the net, Montana could get little going early. The Grizzlies hit .020 in the first two sets and finished with just 26 kills for the match to NAU's 46.
Montana fell behind 12-6 in the third set but fought back to within 21-19 before consecutive kills from the Lumberjacks ended any further rally. The Grizzlies hit .258 in the third set.
"We had to run a good offense tonight to change the tempo to our favor, and we needed to serve aggressively," Wagner said.
"We started out doing those things in the first two sets, but it wasn't until the third when we did them with some consistency."
Sophomore Kelsey Schile, who got the start at setter as Wagner tried a 6-2 offensive system, led Montana with seven kills on .312 hitting along with six assists. Junior Brooke Bray had five kills and a team-high three blocks. Freshman Gabby Crowell also finished with five kills.
Junior Janele Vogt, a transfer from North Idaho College, got her first career start and totaled four kills on .500 hitting.
Northern Arizona's middle blockers were fantastic. Sydney Kemper and Payton Bock combined for 21 kills, just five fewer than the Grizzlies had as a team, on .588 hitting. They also had nine blocks as NAU finished with an 11-4 advantage at the net.
Montana will conclude the first half of its Big Sky Conference schedule over the next nine days. The Grizzlies will host Sacramento State (6-11, 2-6 BSC) next Friday at the West Auxiliary Gym, then play at Montana State (11-5, 5-3 BSC) on Monday, Oct. 15.
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