Northern Arizona University’s volleyball team played at home against the Montana Grizzlies on October 10, resulting in a three match win, only providing enough leniency for the Grizzlies to make self mistakes.

  The Lumberjacks took the game, scoring 26-24 in the first match, 25-17 in the second and 25-10 in the third. For Janae Vander Ploeg, the game was an immense hi- light for the skilled outside hitter.

  Vander Ploeg, outside hitter for NAU, scored a total of 21 kills in the game against the Grizzlies.

  Ken Murphy, coach for the NAU volleyball team, showed a lot of trust in Vander Ploeg during the game. Although her outside hitting was on point, her defense in the back row showed a little differently. After a few self errors, Vander Ploeg stepped out of her comfort zone and improved her defensive mechanism in order to play back row to her full potential.

 In the first match, Taylor Stephens and Janae Vander Ploeg, went in on a strong block, reaching their hands over the net, and making the ball fall to the ground, resulting in a comeback by NAU, tying the game 24-24. Vander Ploeg then ended match one with an outside attack, resulting in a kill with help from setter, Jensen Barton, making the tight game final with a score of 26-24. She played all around pretty well, completing the first match with a total of six kills.

  “I knew Montana was good, we all did,” said Vander Ploeg. It was up to us to come out and play the best that we can. The game started out really slow, but by the third match we were playing as a team. There were definitely full games being played, and no letting up. Our chemistry was strong both on and off the court.”

  In the second match, Vander Ploeg continued to stand out making some of the most powerful plays of the night. Although she continued to have some problems in the back row, coach Murphy continued to trust in her, letting her climb out of her own holes.

  While Montana continued to make their own mistakes, Vander Ploeg continued to assist those points with a strong amount of serves and an even stronger amount of plays that resulted in kills. Team members, such as Taylor Stephens, #12, were impressed by the leadership Vander Ploeg had on the team during the game, noting that Vander Ploeg did not stop, even when she was making errors.

  “Janae was definitely the biggest team leader tonight, she made sure not to slow down on the right side, or stop on the outside,” said Taylor Stephens.

  By match three, Montana continued to hit the ball into the net, still making their own errors, resulting in a landslide loss of 25-10 to Northern Arizona.


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