ST. CLOUD, Minn. – The No. 21-ranked Michigan Tech volleyball team split a pair of matches Friday (Sept. 13) at the Huskies Volleyball Classic at Halenbeck Hall in St. Cloud. Tech defeated Bemidji State 3-1 in their noon match and fell to host St. Cloud State 3-1 in the evening.
Tech 3, Bemidji State 1
The Huskies came back from a 1-0 deficit and won three straight sets for the 3-1 victory. The two teams battled in the first to a 31-29 BSU win. Tech had five set points turned back before the Beavers closed it out with back-to-back kills by Becky Schroeder.
Tech dominated the second frame with a 15-4 run and then scoring five of the final six points to tie it up with a 25-17 win. Olivia Ghormley had six kills in the set with a run of four straight midway through.
"We left the door open for them in the first set, and they took advantage," Tech coach Matt Jennings said. "We got back to playing our game early in set two by being better and more disciplined in the serve and pass game. From there our offense started to click and we got rolling."
The Black and Gold hopped out to an 8-3 lead in the third and never looked back, taking a 2-1 lead after another dominating set, 25-12. The fourth set was much of the same with a scoring run of eight straight on the serving of Anna Jonynas. The Huskies closed out the match 25-13.
"Our offense was very effective, and I think it shows just how deep we are in certain areas," Jennings added. "Olivia had another outstanding match at the net and really stepped up for us going six rotations, as did Anna. All four middles contributed in a meaningful way, particularly Janie in sets three and four. Laura continued to keep her team marching and did an excellent job."
Ghormley finished with 25 kills while hitting .449 and chipping in with 12 digs. Jonynas had 12 kills and 13 digs. MacAulay Petersen (8 kills), Janie Grindland (6 kills), and Emilia Widen (5 kills) also contributed offensively, while Laura De Marchi added 52 assists and six kills of her own. Grace Novotny led the team with 16 digs.
As a team, the Huskies hit .362 and forced the Beavers into 24 attacking errors while tallying eight total team blocks.
St. Cloud State 3, Michigan Tech 1
St. Cloud State won sets one and two 25-19 and 27-25 before Tech took set three 25-19. The home team rallied in the fourth 25-18 for the 3-1 win.
"Credit St Cloud for playing exceptional defense tonight," said Jennings. "They didn't give us any easy points and extended rallies in system that allowed their offense to score a ton of points. It was the difference-maker for them. They are a really good team in a great league that is going to continue to win a lot of games."
MacAulay Petersen and Olivia Ghormley led the offense with 12 kills each while Janie Grindland added 10. Laura De Marchi had 41 assists while controlling the offense. Grace Novotny led a host of Tech defenders with 27 digs. Ghormley (17), Anna Jonynas (14), Megan Utlak (10), and De Marchi (10) also had double-digit digs. Grindland added two solo blocks and two block assists while Emilia Widen had four block assists.
"We had some good moments and fought together for most of the match," added Jennings. "Mac had one of her best performances on the season, and both Janie and Courtney (Kurkie) stepped up and gave us a spark. Grace was solid for the second straight match in left-back. I still think we can play more consistently, especially with our ball control in general. When we're clean in the backcourt and giving our offense options, we're tough to beat."
Tech is now 4-3 on the season wraps up the Huskies Classic on Saturday (Sept. 14) against Minnesota Crookston with the first serve at noon. The two teams met in last weekend's Keweenaw Classic with Tech winning 3-0.