INDIANAPOLIS – The No. 24-ranked Michigan Tech volleyball team opened the Midwest Region Crossover Tournament with a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Drury Friday (Oct. 18) at The Academy Volleyball Club. The Panthers, who were the top seed from the GLVC, took the first set 25-21 before the Huskies answered with scores 25-16, 26-24, and 25-19.
"That was a huge win against a very strong Drury team," Tech coach Matt Jennings said. "I'm very happy with the resolve we played with after dropping that first set. We were very good behind the service line today and really put pressure on their serve receive."
Junior Megan Utlak hit the 1,000-dig mark for her career in the match to become the 11th Husky all-time to hit the milestone. She has 1,006 digs after she tallied 242 as a freshman, 511 as a sophomore for the third-most in school history in a season, and 253 so far this season.
Drury (13-8) scored nine of the final 12 points in the first set for the early lead.
After five ties early in the second set, the Huskies took control with an 11-3 run to lead 16-9 and went on for a 25-16 win. Emilia Widen dominated the frame with six kills on only eight attempts.
Neither team was able to gain more than a three-point advantage in the third. Drury took a 22-21 lead before three straight points, including a pair of kills by Anna Jonynas, put the Huskies at set point. The Panthers responded to tie it at 24. Kills by Rachel Ping and MacAulay Petersen gave Tech the 26-24 win and 2-1 lead.
Tech found itself down 18-16 in the fourth set and then went on a tear, scoring nine of the final 10 points to close out the match 25-19. Jonynas served the Huskies to six straight points, and Olivia Ghormley had a pair of kills in final stages and seven in the fourth set alone.
Ghormley led the Tech offense with 14 kills. Widen and Petersen added a dozen kills each. Jonynas (eight kills) and Ping (seven kills) also pitched in to the balanced offense.
"Emilia was excellent today on the offensive side of the ball," added Jennings. "Olivia and Mac were really strong at the pins, especially when we needed big points."
"Anna, Grace, Laura, and Megan were all very strong defensively today as well as with their serving," Jennings said. "Their efforts made a big difference in us winning the serve/pass game and the match in general."
Tech improved to 14-4 overall and plays a pair of matches Saturday (Oct. 19) to wrap up the Crossover. Tech plays Cedarville at 10 a.m. and Illinois Springfield at 4 p.m. Both teams won their Friday matches to open the Crossover.