HOUGHTON, Mich. — Michigan Tech came out firing against rival Northern Michigan in GLIAC volleyball tonight, but it was the visiting Wildcats who came away with a 3-1 victory. A crowd of more than 600 watched their Huskies take the opening set 25-20. NMU claimed the next three by scores of 25-15, 25-23 and 25-15 to improve to 10-4 (4-1 GLIAC). Tech is now 6-8 overall and 3-2 in league play.
"We were ready to go tonight. We were aggressive and on our game in the first set," said head coach Matt Jennings. "In the second, we gave them an inch and they took a every bit of it. I thought the third set was ours, but I think their experience got it for them. We were just spent in the fourth set after giving it everything."
Tech pounded four service aces and a .265 hitting percentage in the opening frame led by freshman outside hitter Aubrey Ficek's five kills. Three aces (two by Rachel Pohlod and one by Kendall Ward) helped the Huskies take an 18-12 lead en route to the 25-20 win.
NMU bounced back with a side-out percentage of 81 to control set two. The Wildcats hit .237 compared to the Huskies .034 in the set to claim it 25-15.
Momentum shifted back and forth in set three especially down the stretch. Tech erased a pair of two-point deficits to tie the set at 21-all and 23-all before NMU closed it out 25-23.
Tech was sharp offensively in the fourth set with 12 kills and a .267 hitting percentage, but NMU was better. The visitors had 13 kills and a .333 percentage. The big difference in the stanza was the play of Northern Michigan's Lina Lopes, who served 10 straight times and took a 12-all score to a 21-13 Wildcat advantage. The final score of set for was 25-15.
With the Huskies Pep Band in attendance, the atmosphere for Michigan Tech volleyball tonight was the best in recent memory.
"I can't tell you how much it means to the team to have the support we've experienced each of the last two weekends and especially tonight," said Jennings. "Thank you, fans."
Ficek had a team-high 14 kills to go with eight digs. Shelby Jones added seven kills. Senior Jordanna Kero was a bright spot with five kills and zero errors on 15 attempts.
Michigan Tech concluded its five-match home stretch with a 3-2 record and will now head on the road for its next two. The Huskies face Findlay Friday (Oct. 4) and Wayne State Saturday (Oct. 5).