SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team won its seventh straight Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup (Oct. 28) with a 3-1 victory over Lake Superior State at the Bud Cooper Gymnasium. The Huskies won set one, two and four 25-15, 25-18, 25-16, with the Lakers taking set three 25-23. Tech improves to 16-8 overall and 10-3 in the GLIAC.
As a team, Tech hit over .300 in the match for the 11th time this season and currently ranks #18 in DII volleyball for team hitting percentage. Today's win marks Tech's ninth straight win over LSSU. Tech's seniors will finish their careers having never lost to the Lakers.
"All week we stressed the importance of taking care of business one set at a time and one match at a time as we enter the late stretch of conference play," said Michigan Tech head coach Matt Jennings. "I think we did a good job of that this weekend in general and I am happy to end the weekend having picked up two conference road wins."
Tech jumped out to a ten-point lead (21-11) in the first set and controlled throughout. The third set was tied up 10-10 and a kill by MacAulay Petersen and Courtney Kurkie positioned the Huskies back to a two point lead. The Lakers (3-19, 1-12 GLIAC) managed to tie up the score once again at 22-22 and pushed their way to victory. The Huskies retaliated, leading the entire fourth set to win the match.
"Today's match was a little different than last night in that it seemed like it was being played at a slow pace and we were having a little trouble establishing our tempo, especially early in sets two and three," said Jennings. "We play a fast tempo game and really look to push speed from start to finish, while Lake St. tends to slow teams down with a lot of long rallies and crafty shots that can be tricky to defend. However, once we found our rhythm we started to break away, especially in the fourth set."
"The offense was pretty good today and seemed to keep them on their heels for a lot of the match," Jennings added. "The last set was especially impressive at the net. A lot of people chipped in and the scoring was pretty spread out. That said, Lauren and Mariah continued their hot play with another pair of incredibly efficient performances while MacAulay stepped up again as our go-to point scorer. She seems to be growing into that role more and more each week. I also thought Courtney did a good job at the net and found ways to score when given the ball."
MacAulay Petersen was solid offensively, racking up double-digit kills with 15 to lead the team. Lauren Emmert recorded nine kills, followed by teammates Mariah Sherman (9), Courtney Kurkie (7), and Olivia Ghormley (6).
"I thought we really were strong behind the service line again today, Jennings said. "Halie was exceptional all weekend with her serves. She can put the ball anywhere you ask and has been mixing up her serves very well all season long. We've got a handful of really tough servers and they were a big part of the weekend's success.
"Our blocking wasn't that sharp in this one and our overall ball control seemed a bit inconsistent in stretches of the match, both on defense and in serve receive. There were times I thought we were allowing them to score a little too easily, but once we locked in and started to make some stops, we took control of the game. Elle had two really nice matches this weekend with 20 plus digs in each match and Anna and Megan also had solid matches in middle back today."
Tech is in a two-way tie with Northern Michigan in the GLIAC standings. Tech travels to NMU (18-6, 10-3 GLIAC) next Saturday (Nov. 4) for a competitive conference battle. The outcome will have major playoff consequences and an impact on the overall GLIAC standings. The winner will remain in contention for a first-place conference finish.
"We'll take tomorrow to rest up, get some more school work done, then start prepping for Northern on Saturday," Jennings added. "To say we're looking forward to playing them again would be a bit of an understatement and we're excited at the opportunity to play them on their home court. It ought to be another battle with both teams playing pretty good ball right now."
Tech wraps up the regular season with a pair of home matches the following weekend to end conference play. The Huskies host Northwood Friday (Nov. 10) at 5 p.m. and Ferris State (Nov. 11) Saturday at 3 p.m., which is also Tech's Senior Night.