UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team earned a GLIAC win over Saginaw Valley State 3-1, Friday (Oct. 27) at Hamilton Gymnasium. The Huskies won the first set 25-17 and dropped a tight second set 25-23. Tech rallied to win set three 25-21 and closed the match 25-22 to earn its sixth straight GLIAC victory.
"We tend to battle with Saginaw each year, and tonight's match was no exception," Tech coach Matt Jennings said. "Both teams fought hard and put pressure on the other to make plays, and I am proud of the way the team held on strong and finished. Aside from set one, each set had a lot of back and forth with each of us going on scoring runs that kept the score tight to the end.
"I thought Saginaw played well and did a good job scoring all match on offense, and blocked well, especially in the second set. But in the end, our serving and passing game, Halie, Elle, and Megan in particular, made a huge difference in the outcome. Our passers were on point tonight and our serving disrupted them enough to give us the edge we needed."
MacAulay Petersen had a match-high 14 kills to lead the Black and Gold. Mariah Sherman pounded down 11 kills. Sherman has had double-digit kills in nine of the Huskies 12 GLIAC matches and holds a .383 hitting percentage in GLIAC play.
"Mariah and Lauren, once again, really stood out on both sides of the ball for us tonight," Jennings added. "Those two were putting balls away from start to finish and both came up with clutch blocks at important moments in the match. Mac and Olivia had gritty performances and really battled at the pins with big kills when we needed them."
Laura DeMarchi set the offense with 47 assists and 12 digs. DeMarchi continues to dominate the conference in assists per set at 11.93. She leads all GLIAC setters in assists, assists per set, digs per set, aces per set, and hitting percentage.
"Laura had a very impressive performance and in my opinion, had one of her best overall matches of the season," said Jennings. "She ran the offense well, played solid defense in the back row, and at the net, served very tough. She came through with a bunch of huge kills that got us out of a few jams, and added a few spectacular sets that were pretty awesome and got our bench fired up. She is playing well beyond her years and is continuing to improve each week in what has already been an excellent freshman season. She's a difference maker out there."
Elle Heinonen led all players with 23 digs on defense. Right now, Heinonen is third all-time at Tech in career digs and ranks third in the GLIAC in digs per set in conference play and fifth in overall matches (4.93). Freshman, Megan Utlak recorded 14 digs and senior Halie Hart chipped in with 10.
"We didn't play our best, but we played well, and did what we needed to do when it needed to be done, which is what I am most proud of with this match," added Jennings. "Finishing close, tight sets on the road against an inner conference rival is not an easy thing to do. Saginaw put themselves in a position to win, but we held our ground and played our best in crunch time towards the end of each set. I am very proud of our Huskies."
The Black and Gold improved to 15-8 overall and 9-3 in the GLIAC. The Huskies are tied for second in the GLIAC standings with Northern Michigan with four more conference matches left. Tech currently leads the conference as a team in assists per set, kills per set, and team hitting percentage.
"I'm glad we won, but now it's on to the next one," Jennings said. "Lake State is not only a more dangerous team this year than in the recent past, but they play us especially tough at their place. I think we're prepared. I know for sure the girls are determined to pick up the weekend sweep."
Tech travels to Lake Superior State Saturday (Oct. 28) for a 2 p.m. afternoon match to wrap-up the weekend. The Lakers are 3-18 overall, coming off of a 3-0 loss to Northern Michigan Friday.