MIDLAND, Mich. – No. 24 Michigan Tech came back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 (23-25, 14-25, 25-19, 26-24, 15-12) over Northwood inside the Riepma Arena on Saturday (Nov. 3). The Huskies close out the season 22-5 overall and 14-2 in the GLIAC. The win gives Michigan Tech the No. 2 seed in the 2018 GLIAC Tournament.
"We didn't play our best ball this weekend, especially in the first two sets of this match," said head coach Matt Jennings. "But as I've said all year, good teams win close games. We dug deep, stayed in it, and pulled off another tough comeback again here tonight. Being down two sets to none on the road is not an easy thing to overcome, and it says something about our team to have done it three times this season."
Down 2-1 entering the fourth set, Michigan Tech opened the action by trading points and service with the Timberwolves (10-18, 4-12 GLIAC), scoring three straight to tie the score at 8-8 before Northwood called timeout. The hosts scored three points out of the break to take an 11-8 lead before Tech was able to respond. The Huskies fell behind 20-15 late in the set before reeling off four-straight points, sparked by a kill from Mariah Sherman, to make it a one-score set. The Huskies chipped away at the Northwood lead, tying it up several times before taking the lead 23-22 and again 24-23. With the score tied 24-24, sophomore Laura DeMarchi scored a kill to put the Huskies on set point, and Sherman blocked a Timberwolves attack to win the frame 26-24 for MTU, bringing the match to the fifth set.
The Huskies held a two-point lead throughout the early stages of the fifth set, leading 7-5 when the teams switched sides. Northwood tied it up after the restart, but Michigan Tech retook the lead and never gave it up. The Huskies finished off the match with kills by Sherman and Anna Jonynas, giving them their third 2-0 comeback win of the season.
After a disappointing third set, Michigan Tech scored seven straight points to open the third set. The Timberwolves recovered and brought the deficit to two points midway through the action until the Black and Gold reeled off five straight points to make it an 18-11 set. The Huskies withstood a three-point run by the Timberwolves and finished strong to win 25-19 in the third frame.
Michigan Tech led for nearly all of the first set, only being tied four times early in the set. The Huskies were ahead 19-17 deep in the frame until Northwood scored five unanswered-points to make it a 22-19 match. The Black and Gold responded by scoring four of the next five points to tie the match at 23-23, but Northwood broke the run and finished off the set with a kill to win 25-23.
The Timberwolves ripped off seven unanswered points to lead 8-3 early in the second frame. The Huskies brought the margin to six points with the score at 14-8, but the Timberwolves put the set out of reach with runs of five and four points to lead 23-9. Michigan Tech rallied for five points late in the set, but it wasn't enough as Northwood took the second set 25-14.
Ghormley finished with 25 kills for the sixth time this season, while DeMarchi dished out 53 assists for her sixth match with 50+ assists. DeMarchi also scored eight kills on 12 attacks for a .667 hitting percentage. Sherman ended the day with 16 kills against the Timberwolves. Sophomore Megan Utlak led the team with 23 digs, finishing as one of five Huskies with double-digit digs. Also recording 10 or more digs was DeMarchi (18), Jonynas (14), freshman Grace Novotny (13), and junior Kristine Fink (12). DeMarchi, junior Rachel Ping, and freshman Janie Grindland all recorded four block assists, while Ghormley and Sherman both notched one solo block each.
The Huskies drew even with the Timberwolves in hitting percentage (.159 - .159), despite hitting .060 in the first three sets. The Black and Gold outkilled the Timberwolves (63-58), with their highest kill total of 18 coming in the fourth set. Michigan Tech finished with more assists (62-50) and were narrowly outdug by their opponents (87-88).
By finishing with a 14-2 conference record and winning a tiebreaker over Ashland, the Huskies received the No. 2 seed in the 2018 GLIAC Tournament. Michigan Tech will host seventh-seed Grand Valley State on Wednesday (Nov. 7) at 7 p.m.
"With the regular season in the books, it's now time to get ready for the playoffs," said Jennings. "We're happy with the work we've done this season, but now it's time to dial in and get ready to make a playoff run. It's what we have been working so hard for all season.
The teams last played on September 22, with the Huskies picking up a 3-0 sweep over the Lakers inside the SDC Gym.