3 Lumberjacks earn All-Big Sky volleyball recognition

BY foxsports • November 19, 2014

OGDEN, Utah -- Northern Arizona senior Sydney Kemper and junior Janae Vander Ploeg are first-team selections on the All-Sky Conference volleyball team, and sophomore Jensen Barton earned second-team honors.

Kemper's first-team selection is the first of her career, following a second-team selection in 2013 and honorable mention in her first two seasons at NAU. She leads the Lumberjacks and ranks fourth in the Big Sky with 3.40 kills per set and ranks ninth in hitting percentage at .309. She enters this week's conference tournament with 1,060 kills (10th most in NAU history) and 378 total blocks (third best in school history).

Vander Ploeg is a repeat first-team selection. She ranks second on the team and sixth in the Bkig Sky with 3.17 kills per set and also ranks second on the team with 3.55 digs per set. With another year to play, she has already topped the 1,000 mark for career kills.

Barton's setting helped NAU lead the Big Sky Conference with a .253 hitting percentage. She ranks second in the Big Sky in assists at 10.73 per set also ranks second in the conference in service aces.

NAU (20-7, 11-5) is seeded fifth for the Big Sky Championships and opens play in the conference tournament against Idaho (15-13, 11-5) at 5 p.m. Thursday in Pocatello, Idaho. Idaho defeated NAU in three sets in their only regular-season meeting.

"We know it's a good challenge, starting with our first match there are good teams in front of us," NAU coach Ken Murphy said. "It's going to be real important for us to focus on playing our style of volleyball, dictating the pace of the match and making it go the way we want it to go."