Tech volleyball splits at Flyer Festival

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. The Michigan Tech volleyball team split a pair of matches Friday (Sept. 2) at the Flyer Festival on the campus of Lewis University. The Huskies dropped the morning match to No. 4 Southwest Minnesota State (3-1) before bouncing back for their first victory of the season over Central Washington (3-0).

“Today, we took a step forward as a group and learned something about ourselves,” Tech coach Matt Jennings said. “More importantly, we are learning what it takes to beat top level teams. We played well for large parts of the morning match, then came out and played very focused and assertively in the second match. It was a good day and I’m happy to get our first W of the season.

“Most importantly, the girls are responding and adjusting out there. We have to remain dedicated to getting better each time we play.”

Morning match vs. Southwest Minnesota State

The Huskies took set three 25-22 but fell 25-11, 27-25 and 25-15.

“After a dismal opening set, we pulled together two straight sets of good volleyball that challenged one of the best programs in the country,” said Jennings. “Hanging tough to win set two was impressive, but in a way, I thought we played a cleaner game in the third. In the end, we didn’t control the ball well enough and could not find a rhythm in serve receive.”

Aubrey Ficek had 13 kills and Stephanie Dietrich hit .353 with eight kills. Rachel Pohlod had 28 assists, while Halie Hart (17) and Elle Heinonen (11) had double digit digs on defense.

Afternoon match vs. Central Washington

Against the Wildcats, the Black and Gold swept with scores 25-21, 25-22 and 25-14.

“We played poised as a group and beat a very good Central Washington team that is aggressive and puts up a huge block,” Jennings added. “We came out strong in each set, and in sets two and three, came up with big plays late to finish. We were playing with flow for most of the third.”

Freshman MacAulay Petersen continued her quality play over the weekend with a match-high 14 kills. Lauren Emmert dominated at the net with five blocks, and Hart led the back row defense with 14 digs. Rachel Pohlod had a double-double with 31 assists and 10 digs. Ficek chipped in with nine kills.

The Huskies wrap up competition at the Flyer Festival with a 10 a.m. match Saturday (Sept. 3) against Augustana. All four teams Tech had on its schedule over the weekend received votes in the preseason AVCA Top 25 poll. Lewis was No. 18, Southwest Minnesota State was No. 4, while Central Washington and Augustana were just outside of the top 25.