ASHLAND, Ohio – For the second time in as many days, the Michigan Tech volleyball team came back from a 2-0 deficit and won 3-2 (18-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18, 17-15) against Ashland inside the Kates Gymnasium. The win pushes Michigan Tech to 14-3 overall and 8-1 in the GLIAC.
"These Huskies are playing with more heart and toughness than any coach could ever ask for and after a weekend like this one, you just have to sit back a say wow," said head coach Matt Jennings. "We'll remember it for a long time and point back to this as a lasting moment for our team. To come back the way we did two nights in a row was incredible and real treat to witness."
Ashland (15-3, 8-1 GLIAC) pulled ahead 7-4 with three consecutive points before MTU called a timeout in the pivotal fifth set. Following the timeout, the Huskies continued to trail 11-8 until the team rallied for five unanswered points, with sophomore Olivia Ghormley responsible for four kills, to pull ahead 13-11. The Huskies were on match-point several times in the frame, but Ashland managed to tie it up each time until senior Mariah Sherman put Tech on match-point and an attack error by the Eagles sealed the win.
Michigan Tech never trailed in the fourth set, leading by as many as 10 point multiple times throughout. The Black and Gold withstood a late 5-0 rally by the Eagles to eventually win out and force the match into a tiebreaker set. The Huskies finished with their best hitting percentage in any set, scoring .282 against Ashland's .140.
Facing the prospect of being swept for the first time this season, Michigan Tech battled back in the third set and, despite falling behind early, pulled ahead midway through the action. The Huskies weathered several comeback attempts by the Eagles, but eventually widened their lead thanks to an 8-3 run late to go ahead 23-18. The Eagles scored four unanswered points to make it a one-point frame, but a service error and a Sherman kill gave Tech the third set.
The teams were even in the first set, but it was Ashland who went on the first lengthy run of the afternoon as they rattled off six straight points to lead 13-7. The Eagles maintained their lead and pulled ahead 20-10 late in the set. The Huskies pulled to within five towards the end, but Ashland eventually won 25-18.
Michigan Tech opened the second set in the lead and were able to hold off the Eagles. However, Ashland utilized a 6-1 run late in the frame to pull ahead, and although the Huskies battled to retake the lead, Ashland were able to fend off the Black and Gold to win the second set.
Michigan Tech topped Ashland in most statistical categories. The Huskies out-hit the Eagles (.243 - .179), committed fewer errors (24-30), and finished with more kills (70-64), assists (68-59), and digs (89-78). The teams were even on service aces (4-4), and the Eagles finished with more total blocks (10-8). Tonight's performance is the third time this season where the Huskies recorded 70 or more kills.
After recording only seven kills in the first two sets, Ghormley turned it to another level the rest of the way as she finished with 25 kills, including 12 kills in the final two frames. Sherman finished her day with 17 kills, and junior Emilia Widen totaled 10 kills against Ashland. Widen also posted the highest hitting percentage of any player in the match at .320.
Sophomore Laura DeMarchi assisted on 62 of the team's kills, the second most in a game in her career, and was one of four Huskies to finish in with double-digit digs. Joining the reigning GLIAC Freshman and Setter of the year with 10 or more digs was sophomore Megan Utlak (27), sophomore Anna Jonynas (17), and freshman Grace Novotny (13). Widen also led the team at the net with one solo block and three assisted blocks.
"We're feeling really good about where we stand right now and are enjoying the moment coming off these two emotional wins," Jennings said. "But it's back to business next week, and time to get ready for two more GLIAC road matches."
The Huskies will take the court again on Friday (Oct. 5) against Purdue Northwest and Saturday (Oct. 6) against Parkside. The Pride (1-16, 0-9 GLIAC) was defeated 3-0 by Saginaw Valley State, and the Rangers (4-13, 2-7 GLIAC) were downed 3-2 at Lake Superior State.