MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team won its fourth straight match with a 3-1 victory (25-23, 25-22, 23-25, 26-24) at Northern Michigan Tuesday (Sept. 11) night inside Vandament Arena. The Huskies improved to 9-2 overall and 3-0 in the GLIAC.
The Huskies were on the wrong end of an 11-0 run by the Wildcats (9-2, 1-2 GLIAC) in the fourth set to put the hosts ahead, 18-17. The big run by the Wildcats erased a 10-point Husky lead. The teams battled back and forth, with the Wildcats gaining a two-point lead several times and the Huskies coming right back to make it a one-point set until NMU was on set point leading 24-23. MTU dug deep and tied it with a pivotal kill by senior Mariah Sherman. A combined block by junior Emilia Widen and sophomore Laura DeMarchi put Tech ahead, and a service ace from freshman Grace Novotny gave the Huskies the set and the match.
"Every time we play Northern these last couple of years, it's been a battle," said head coach Matt Jennings following the win. "I'm really proud of the way we held on and fought back."
Sherman's performance was the highlight of the night for the Huskies. The senior outside hitter finished with 13 kills on 32 attempts with only two errors for an attack percentage of .344. Five of her 13 kills came in the second set, but none were more important than her final two of the night to keep the Huskies alive in the fourth.
Olivia Ghormley led all players with 16 kills, while DeMarchi controlled the offense with 35 assists. Sophomore Anna Jonynas was responsible for eight of the team's 14 service aces, a season-best for the Huskies, with six of them coming in the fourth set.
Four Huskies finished with double-digit digs, with Jonynas and sophomore Megan Utlak leading the team with 17 each. DeMarchi finished added 12 and Novotny chipped in with 11. The Huskies recorded three solo blocks from Sherman, Widen, and junior Rachel Ping.
MTU won the first set after a tight back-and-forth with NMU. The Huskies pulled ahead 15-12 after coming from behind earlier in the frame, but the Wildcats rallied with six out of the next eight points to lead 18-17. Tech rebounded and took the lead following an error by the Wildcats and kills from Sherman and Ghormley before staving off NMU. The Huskies won the set after a solo block from Ping.
Tech jumped out to a 4-2 lead early in the second, but Northern pulled ahead with three straight points. The teams traded the lead multiple times throughout the middle frame. Neither team was able to pull away from the other by more than a point until a kill from Sherman gave the Huskies a late lead and a pair of service aces by junior Kristine Fink put the Black and Gold ahead 2-0.
The Huskies jumped out to a 9-7 lead in the third set, but NMU stormed back with five straight points. The Wildcats never relinquished their lead until late in the set when a kill by Sherman and three Wildcat attack errors put the Huskies ahead 21-20. Unfortunately, Tech's lead wouldn't last as Northern Michigan scored five of the final seven points to win the set 25-23 and extend the match.
MTU finished the night with an attack percentage of .103 and 47 kills, compared to .132 attack efficiency and 53 kills by NMU. The Huskies finished with two fewer errors than the Wildcats, committing only 29 errors to NMU's 31.
The Huskies are home for four consecutive matches starting on Friday (Sept. 14) when they host Northwood (5-6, 2-1 GLIAC) at 7 p.m. Tech will also host No. 11 Ferris State (8-3, 3-0 GLIAC) on Saturday (Sept. 15) at 4 p.m.