MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team traveled to Northern Michigan for a GLIAC rivalry matchup Saturday (Nov. 4) at Vandament Arena. The Huskies pulled off a five-set thriller for the conference victory (25-21, 25-23, 25-19, 25-23 and 18-16), winning their fifth straight, and eighth straight GLIAC match, to climb into second place in the GLIAC standings.
"I'm just so proud of our team and the way that we fought," said Tech coach Matt Jennings. "A five-setter in a place like this versus such a good team like Northern and a full house against our rival. What we accomplished here was not easy to do. I'm just glad that we came through in the end."
Tech took control in the first set and fought the Wildcats point for point in long rallies. NMU managed to tie up the match three times, but ultimately the Huskies prevailed with a set-point kill from freshman Olivia Ghormley for the 25-21 win.
The Black and Gold lost some of its momentum in sets two and three, but nonetheless swung relentlessly to break through Northern's strong middle-blockers. Much like the first set, there were five lead changes in set two, and seven in set three. The Huskies were tripped up in set two 25-23 and in set three 25-19.
Tech responded in set four, jumping out with a big kill from junior, Mariah Sherman, followed by an ace from senior Elle Heinonen. The Huskies capitalized early in the frame with a 5-0 advantage and held strong to finish 25-23.
Two more attacks from Sherman positioned the Huskies for the win and an early lead in the fifth set. Coming out of the gates, Tech led 3-0 and had some momentum as they rallied past the Wildcats. NMU stepped up to tie up the set at 15, but MTU's senior leadership shined when Lauren Emmert pounded back-to-back kills for the 18-16 win.
"Our offense was resilient," said Jennings. "Northern is one of the top blocking teams in the country and certainly in the GLIAC. Every time you play them you have to expect to get blocked a couple times and you have to keep battling."
Four Huskies had double-digit kills in the match. Outside hitter Sherman was hot, pounding 18 of the Huskies 64 kills. Emmert recorded 14 kills, two solo blocks, and two block assists. Ghormley tallied 13 kills and MacAulay Petersen added 11 kills. Stephanie Dietrich also had six kills, a solo block, and two block assists.
"Steph and Lauren, in the fifth set, were just absolutely clutch for us," added Jennings. "They really came through with some big points at times we needed it most. Elle was strong on the defensive end and Halie on the serve. It was just a good all-around game, and I think our seniors played so well."
Laura DeMarchi set the Huskies offense with 59 assists, tallying 13 digs and a pair of blocks.
Tech improved to 17-8 overall and 11-3 in the conference and captured second place in the league. The Huskies look to continue their success as they wrap up the regular season next weekend (Nov. 10-11) as they host Northwood Friday and GLIAC leader Ferris State Saturday at the SDC Varsity Gym.
"Now we have an opportunity to take care of business with two more this weekend coming up with Northwood on Friday, and Ferris, who is a game ahead in first place on Saturday for Senior Night," Jennings added. "It's shaping up to be quite an exciting end to the season for us."
The Huskies have also clinched a 2017 GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinal Match on November 5. The time and opponent is TBD with more details to come.