HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team wrapped up another season of competition as they ended the year 23-7 and made their 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The team's 2018 record stands as one of the best in program history, with the fourth-highest win total and third-fewest losses in a single-season. The team also posted a mark of 14-2 in the GLIAC, the second most GLIAC wins in program history and the second-highest winning percentage in GLIAC competition in team history (.875).
The Huskies appeared in every NCAA Midwest Regional poll, and were given the fifth seed in the NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament, where they were paired up with Lewis. Unfortunately, the Huskies were defeated 3-0 by the Flyers, who won the Midwest Regional Tournament and advanced all the way to the Final Four.
Michigan Tech appeared four times in the Top 25 of the AVCA Division II poll, ranking as high as No. 24 in the country. The Huskies were either ranked or received votes in 11 out of the 12 weekly polls this season, and received their first appearance in the AVCA poll since 2006.
The Black and Gold scored a number of signature wins over the course of the season, most notably a 3-0 win over top-ranked Minnesota Duluth on September 1st at the NMU Open. It was the first time in program history the Huskies defeated the No. 1 team in the country, and the first time the Huskies beat the Bulldogs in over 15 seasons. Michigan Tech also scored a season sweep of Northern Michigan, their second sweep of the Wildcats in the regular season in program history. Michigan Tech also swept the GLIAC South Division for the first time, with the team's first win at Ashland in 13 seasons the highlight of the divisional sweep.
Three Huskies received All-GLIAC First Team honors, this most in a single season in MTU history. Michigan Tech also picked up the program's fifth AVCA All-American, and first since 1997, when Olivia Ghormley was named to the Third Team. Ghormley, who is also the first GLIAC Attacker of the Year in program history, became one of only four Michigan Tech players to ever record 500 kills in a single season when she tallied 518 with an average of 4.58 kills per set in 2018. Laura DeMarchi also picked up All-America honors, becoming the first Michigan Tech player since 2008 to be named to the Honorable Mention team, by racking up 1,254 assists (11.72/set) and repeated as GLIAC Setter of the Year. Both players were also named AVCA All-Region and D2CCA All-Region Second Team selections.
The lone senior on the roster, right-side hitter Mariah Sherman, became the eighth player in Michigan Tech history to earn 1,000 kills in a career against Purdue Northwest, and she finished with 1,169 to finish her time at Michigan Tech with the sixth-most kills in a career. Sherman racked up 381 kills (3.37/set) and 62 total blocks, placing her on the All-GLIAC First Team for the second year in a row. Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Megan Utlak finished as one of the top defenders in the GLIAC with 511 digs and 4.52 digs per set, ranking her third and fourth, respectively, for the most digs and digs per set in a single-season in Tech history.
Michigan Tech was one of the top offenses in the conference in 2018, finishing first in hitting percentage (.235), kills per set (14.14), assists per set (13.42), and points per set (17.0), while ranking third in total kills (1,598), total assists (1,517), points (1,917), and total service aces (154). Nationally, the Huskies ranked 15th in assists per set and 18th in kills per set. The Huskies also finished as one of the top-point scoring teams in the conference, averaging 17 points scored per match.
Ghormley led the conference in total kills and kills per set, and ended the year sixth in the country in total kills and kills per set. Meanwhile, DeMarchi led the conference in assists per set and finished second in total assists, while she finished 12th in assists per set nationally. Ghormley also led the conference in points scored with 542.0 (4.8/set), and Sherman finished the season sixth in points scored with 419.5 (3.7/set).
Sophomore Anna Jonynas finished as one of the top two-way players on the squad. Jonynas, who was named Team MVP, finished the year with 262 kills (2.32/set) and 434 digs (3.84/set) and a GLIAC-best 56 service aces (0.50/set). Junior middle blocker Emilia Widen led all GLIAC players in hitting percentage with a rate of .344, and was a big part of the Huskies leading the conference in team hitting percentage (.235).
The Huskies had four players selected as GLIAC North Division Player of the Week a combined six times during the season, the most in program history, while they saw DeMarchi become the second player in team history be named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division II National Player of the Week. Ghormley was selected as Player of the Week three times in 2018, while Sherman, DeMarchi, and Widen all received the honor once.