Jordan Elder of Dolores and Millie O’Ketter of Durango – both freshmen at Northern Arizona University – were named starters on the Lumberjacks volleyball team this year.
The Big Sky Conference postponed the fall season until spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This season, the NAU Lumberjacks, who will forgo non-conference weekends, began its season opener at home Jan. 24 with a conference match against Sacracmento State in the Rolle Activity Center.
The NAU team went 422 days without a match since playing in 2019.
“The team is excited to play some matches; they’ve been denied that even with our spring matches (last year) even though they’re unofficial,” head coach Ken Murphy said in a news release. “They work so hard for these opportunities and to be deprived of that, it adds up mentally for them. It’ll be a huge relief for them to have an opponent they can focus on, and just start measuring ourselves because we’re in the gym working hard.”
In the first match against Sacramento State on Sunday, Elder had four kills and two blocks as the Lumberjacks swept Sacramento State, 25-15, 25-22, 25-19.
In the rematch on Monday, the Lumberjacks lost in four sets, 18-25, 25-13,14-25 and 19-25. Elder’s individual statistics were not available.
According to NAU, Lumberjacks added five players across the court, including a pair of middle blockers in Savannah Bloom and Elder.
Outside hitter Lyla Hollis of Colorado Springs, setter Kate Hatch of Mesa, Arizona, and defensive specialist O’Ketter of Durango High School also could see significant court time, an NAU news release said.
Elder was a four-year letter winner and starter at Dolores High School, according to NAU, averaging 3.5 kills per set with 925 total kills during her career. She was a two-time league Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference player and was named to 2A All-State Second Team as a senior. She helped her team to three league championships and two state tournaments.
She is the daughter of Brooke and Scot Elder of Dolores.