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Tech volleyball denied in home openers

October 1, 2012
By Stephen Anderson - DMG Sports Writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Michigan Tech lost both of its home-opening weekend volleyball matches 3-0, but Huskies coach Matt Jennings was proud of his team's performance in one, and disappointed in the other.

Tech fought hard and was close in each set Saturday against Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference-leading Wayne State, falling 25-20, 25-21, 25-22.

"I always tell them I'm never going to be upset or angry when we are competitive and we give ourselves a chance to win. We were competitive, they worked hard, they never gave up and they fought," Jennings said after Saturday's loss to the Warriors, who are now 7-0 in the GLIAC. "We just made errors at the wrong time, and that's the symptom of a young, inexperienced team that's learning how to grow."

The match was tied 18-18 in the first set, 21-21 in the second set and 19-19 in the third set before Wayne State put together clutch plays.

Sophomore Shelby Jones led Tech with 12 kills, but she also committed 11 errors. Junior Madeline Haben had 25 assists, while freshman Jackie Aird had 22 digs. Tech also tied the league's best blocking team with nine blocks. WSU's Kristen Bulkiewicz tallied a match-high 13 kills.

Sunday's sets were relatively close against Findlay, too - 25-23, 25-18, 25-20 - but Tech was fighting from behind all day and failed to control its side of the net to Jennings' expectation level.

"Today was a disappointing one for sure," he said. "I thought our ball control was subpar to put it the best way. Seven reception errors in three sets won't win you any games."

Tech, which also committed 10 serve errors, did not commit a single serve receive error Saturday.

The Huskies dug themselves a 15-6 hole in the first set against the Oilers, before scoring seven of the next eight points. Tech got as close as 21-20 and 24-23, but Julie Lyons buried the set point.

The second set was more of the same, as Tech got down 15-7. They got as close as 21-17 before committing two straight errors and eventually falling 25-18.

The Huskies' only leads of the match came in the third set at 2-1 and 5-4, but Findlay scored six straight points to take the lead for good.

Trailing 21-13, Tech clawed back to 23-20, but again a serve error led to the clinching match point.

"We showed some resilience here and there, and we had a couple individual performances that were impressive, but that's just not where we needed to go," Jennings said. "But I have to keep it in perspective. Things have changed in a positive light. I have to remind them of that, but I also have to remind them that the lack of execution today was unacceptable."

Freshman Aubrey Havlichek led Tech with 12 kills, with Jones adding 10 (Findlay's leaders, Mackenzie Vorst and Danielle Taflinger tallied 11 and 10, respectively). Haben had 28 assists, while Aird and fellow freshman Sarah Rasmussen tallied 11 and 13 digs, respectively.

Tech (5-10, 2-5 GLIAC) heads back on the road this weekend to Ohio to take on Walsh (3-9, 1-6 GLIAC) and Malone (7-6, 3-4 GLIAC).



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