ALLENDALE, Mich. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team fell in five sets Friday (Sept. 29) to the Grand Valley State Lakers at the Fieldhouse Arena. The Huskies move to 8-6 overall and 3-3 in the GLIAC. Tonight, the Huskies led GVSU in all stat categories and peaked season highs for kills, aces, points, and digs.
The Lakers edged past the Huskies in set one 25-23, but the Huskies responded for the lead in set two 25-13 and set three 25-20. Tech fought hard in the final frames, but Grand Valley prevailed in set four 25-23 and five 18-16.
"This one stings because it was such a hard-fought match," said Tech head coach Matt Jennings. "We played well and battled together all five sets. We scored 90 points, with 67 kills and 13 aces, plus 10 blocks and lost in extra points in the fifth set. Both teams had multiple match points and each made big plays that extended rallies and sets that made it another very exciting match to be a part of.
"We were strong on both sides of the ball tonight. The offense was going strong, we served exceptionally well and our defense was tough as nails. Mariah, Mac and Steph were particularly strong offensively. Mariah is dominating right now, and Mac continues to prove that she's a premier attacker in the league."
The final set was a seesaw battle, an ace from Laura DeMarchi pushed the Huskies to a tie 9-9. Both teams went back and forth, point for point. A big kill from MacAulay Petersen moved the Huskies ahead 16-15. The Lakers tallied two kills to position themselves back in the match, followed by a ball handling error on MTU resulting in the 18-16 final score in favor of GVSU.
Four Huskies hit double-figure kills on the match. Petersen led in kills (15) for the ninth time this season and has had double-digit kills in six of the last eight matches. Mariah Sherman led the team in points and also had double-digit kills (15) for the sixth time in seven matches. Stephanie Dietrich pounded 11 kills at .476, followed by Olivia Ghormley with 10 kills. Lauren Emmert had eight kills and added five block assists and three solo blocks.
DeMarchi set the Huskies' offense with a high of 54 assists and added 15 digs, six kills, and five aces for her 10th double-double on the season. This is DeMarchi's fifth match with over 50 assists and she currently leads the GLIAC in assists per set at 11.51.
"I can't overstate how well Laura played in this one," Jennings added. "She was four kills shy of a triple double, ran the offense very well, led us in serving while coming up with defensive plays that kept us in it. Simply put, she's a really good all-around volleyball player and is doing a great job running the system in just her fifth week of college. Laura is turning a lot of heads."
"Lauren's block was the best it's been all season," said Jennings. "We had 97 digs as a team with five players in double digits, led by Elle, Megan and Anna. That's a lot of defense to say the least. Halie, per usual, was solid for us in serve receive."
The Huskies travel to Wayne State Saturday (Sept. 30) to wrap up the weekend on the road.
"We've been in every match this season, and we know we are playing pretty good ball," Jennings added. "It's a bummer because I know how bad the girls wanted it, and I thought they played well enough to win. The home team made a few more plays at the right times, and we just fell short. This team can fight and I'm so proud of the way they played out there tonight. It sounds cliche but I mean it. This group is tough and has come to play every match. Tomorrow is another opportunity to show what we got."
Wayne State is 9-5 overall after coming off a 3-1 loss to Northern Michigan. Serve time is set for 2 p.m. inside the Matthaei Center.