Tech tops NMU, 3-1, sets up a winner take all finale


HOUGHTON, Mich. – No. 21 Michigan Tech came back for a 3-1 victory over No. 19 Northern Michigan in the final home match of the season Friday (Apr. 2) at the SDC Gym. The Huskies won 23-25, 25-17, 25-14, and 25-11 to improve to 9-2 on the season and defeat the Wildcats for the eighth straight time.

Senior Laura De Marchi became the school’s all-time leader in career assists in the second set while also notching her 1,000th career dig in the match.

“Playing Northern is the best game of the year. It’s always a close game, and it’s always fun,” De Marchi said. “To reach this milestone against Northern and at home in front of our friends and my teammates’ parents is great. I’m happy for my parents back home who stayed up until 1:30 a.m. to watch the game. I miss them, but I’m very happy they got to watch tonight.”

Tied at 21 in the first set, each team scored two in a row. NMU got a kill by Lizzy Stark to get it to set point before an attacking error on the Huskies put the visitors up 1-0.

De Marchi set a balanced attack in the second set as six different Huskies had a pair of kills. She notched assist number 4,092 to give Tech a 21-14 lead and break the record. Jillian Kuizenga had a pair of kills later in the frame, while Janie Grindland and Lindy Oujiri also pounded down kills as the Huskies evened the match 25-17.

Anna Jonynas was on fire in the third as she racked up eight kills. Leading 15-11, the Huskies went on a 10-3 run, including the final five points to take the 2-1 lead after a 25-14 win.

Lindy Oujiri got in a groove in the fourth set, tallying seven kills. Tech led 13-8 before closing on a 12-3 run. Oujiri had a streak of three straight kills in the run. Anna Jonynas had back-to-back kills to make it match point, and Grace Novotny put it away with a service ace.

De Marchi finished the match with 51 assists, hitting the 50-assist mark for the sixth time this season. She also holds the school record for assists per set (11.81) and currently ranks second amongst active NCAA Division II setters in career assists per set and is third amongst all NCAA setters. De Marchi added 12 digs and five block assists.

Anna Jonynas had a season-high 22 kills while hitting .422 and tallying 17 digs. Lindy Oujiri‘s 13 kills were a season-high with a .321 hitting percentage. Jillian Kuizenga was also in double figures offensively with 10 kills.

Megan Utlak led the evening with 20 digs, hitting the 20 plateau for the sixth time this season. Lina Espejo-Ramirez added 11 digs. Morgan Radtke had seven block assists at the net.

Tech wraps up the regular season Saturday (Apr. 3) against the Wildcats at Vandament Arena in Marquette. The first serve is set for 4 p.m.

“The winner tomorrow takes the regular-season title and the number one seed in the tournament,” Tech coach Matt Jennings said. “This team likes the rivalry and they rise to the occasion. We know Northern is going to be ready to play and they also have a lot on the line.”

“We’ve been in this position for the past three years playing for a GLIAC Championship at the end of the season,” De Marchi added. “We have the maturely and experience to do it. We’ll show up confident to play our best to bring home a championship that we’ve been waiting for for a long time.”

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