HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team won its fifth straight match with a 3-1 victory over Wayne State Friday (Oct. 1) at the SDC Gym. The Huskies moved to the top of the GLIAC standings with their 5-1 conference record and improved to 10-4 overall.
“We stole those last two sets,” Tech coach Matt Jennings said. “It was a combination of serving and defense that allowed us to pull it out. It was clutch plays at the right time.”
Tech found itself down late in each of the final two sets. Tied at 22 in the third, the Warriors got to set point with a kill by Taylor Wagner and an attack error by the Huskies. Tech then scored four straight points to take the 26-24 win and 2-1 lead. Jillian Kuizenga and Olivia Ghormley had late kills, and Anna Jonynas added a service ace down the stretch. Janie Grindland had the final point with a huge block at the net.
In the fourth, the Huskies trailed 23-19 before scoring six straight to steal the set and win the match. Setter Laura De Marchi turned to Kuizenga in crunch time and the sophomore delivered with three kills, including the final two points. Ghormley also had a kill in the run and Kaycee Meiners had a big block. Kuizenga and Ghormley combined for 10 kills in the final frame.
Jennings talked about the message to the team late in the sets, “Take a deep breath. It’s going to be one point at a time. Don’t let them score easily and know that it’s going to take good play in the backcourt to get the scoreboard back in our favor.”
Jonynas added, “We just had to make sure to stay calm in that late timeout and know that we have each other’s backs.”
Tech cruised in the first set, taking an early 13-4 lead and never looking back. Kuizenga had the final kill for her third of the set and Jonynas put down seven kills in the frame.
WSU (10-3, 4-1 GLIAC) knotted the match in the second with a 25-23 win. Tech led 22-21 before the Warriors closed on a 4-1 run, benefitting off three late errors by the Huskies and getting a kill by Halle Shell.
Jonynas had a match-high 23 kills and added 19 digs. Ghormley added 15 kills and Kuizenga chipped in with 14 kills. Grindland added eight kills, while Kaycee Meiners tallied four kills, four block assists, and two solo blocks.
De Marchi set the attack with 52 assists, hitting the 50-assist plateau for the fifth time this season. She added 15 digs for her sixth double-double of the season. Carissa Beyer led the defense with 21 digs and Megan Utlak added 15.
Tech hosts Saginaw Valley State Saturday at 4 p.m. to continue the three-match homestand. The Cardinals opened their weekend with a 3-2 loss at Northern Michigan.
“We need to play clean volleyball, our style,” added Jennings. “When we’re sharp in ball control, we win games. If we take care of the ball in the backcourt, serve well, and have our offense do what it normally does then I like our chances.”