Thunderbird Misfortune Continues in Three-Set Defeat at NAU
Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
Release: 10/29/2012
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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Southern Utah University women's volleyball dropped a three-set match at Northern Arizona on Monday night, falling to 9-17 overall on the year and 5-9 in Big Sky Conference play.

NAU opened the match with a 4-1 run and continued to build the lead to as much as 12 at 20-8. Southern Utah fought off a pair of NAU set points at 24-13 and 24-14 behind kills by Analaine Mailoto and Annie Stradling, but a final Lumberjack kill ended the set at 25-15.

NAU took another early lead, 10-5, in the second set until a seven-point Thunderbird run gave Southern Utah its first lead of the match at 12-10. The advantage evaporated quickly as Northern Arizona countered with an 8-1 run to take back the lead, 18-13. The Lumberjacks were able to maintain their winning margin down the stretch with the 25-17 victory.

Southern Utah held a lead throughout most of the third set, building its largest spread of five at the 12-7 mark. Northern Arizona then began to shorten the gap with a 9-4 run that tied the match at 16-16. A Mikayla Dunford kill broke the tie and a Cashaana Renfro kill broke a tie at 17-17 to keep the lead within the talons' of the Thunderbirds.

However, a four-point push by Northern Arizona at 18-18 gave the home side a 22-18 lead. The advantage stayed with the Lumberjacks down the stretch, but a final surge by Southern Utah fought off two set points at 24-20 and 24-21. In the end, a final NAU block wrapped up the match, 25-22.

Mailoto led the Thunderbirds on the night with 11 kills and 11 digs as the team finished the night hitting .144 (35-20-104). Northern Arizona was led by a pair of double-digit attackers in Jana Vander Ploeg and Kelli Dallmann with 17 and 11 kills, respectively. As a team, NAU hit .333 on the night (51-13-114).

Southern Utah's middles proved to be the most efficient hitters on the night as Cashaana Renfro hit .455 (7-2-11), Annie Stradling .400 (4-0-10) and Taylor Heine .333 (1-0-3). Vander Ploeg and Dallman collected their kills while hitting .395 (17-3-38) and .320 (11-3-25), respectively.

SUU will look to break out of its three-game losing funk this weekend when the Thunderbirds host Eastern Washington and league-leading Portland State. Live stat and live video links are anticipated to be available online at www.suutbirds.com.
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