Ghormley steps up, Tech defeats Tiffin

David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette Michigan Tech’s Olivia Ghormley swings for a kill against Tiffin, Saturday, at the Wood Gym.

HOUGHTON — The Tiffin Dragons volleyball team came into their matchup Saturday with the Michigan Tech Huskies on the GLIAC’s second-longest winning streak. Coming off a win at Northern Michigan on Friday, the Dragons had a plan: shut down outside hitter MacAuley Petersen with their block.

In theory, it was a good plan.

However, by focusing on Petersen, the Dragons could not figure out how to stop outside hitter Olivia Ghormley, and the freshman led the way for the Huskies with a career-high 22 kills as the Huskies won the match, 25-18, 23-25, 25-17, 25-18.

With her teammates behind her, Ghormley is beginning to feel that her game is translating to the college level.

“It feels nice that the work is finally paying off,” said Ghormley. “I am thankful that my teammates have given me the confidence to be able to go out there and just swing at the ball.”

The Dragons (10-7 overall, 5-4 GLIAC) were able to keep Petersen in check, but she still managed 12 kills. Added to 15 from outside hitter Mariah Sherman, the Huskies had 49 of their 75 kills in the match from what coach Matt Jennings calls “the pins”.

“All three pin hitters right now are weapons for us,” said Jennings. “We can spread the ball to either pin and be effective. Our pins are scoring very well.”

The Huskies (11-6 overall, 6-3 GLIAC) came into the match without the services of middle blocker Lauren Emmert, which could have proven costly. Instead, the Huskies turned to middle blocker Emilia Widen, and the sophomore had a career day, racking up nine kills and five digs.

“They kept giving me the donut, the tip in the middle, and I just kept taking it,” said Widen. “When that wasn’t open, I just kind of found shots. I think I was just being smart with where I was putting the ball, and not trying to overdo it.”

The play of Widen throughout the weekend left Jennings and his staff thrilled, especially considering what she was able to accomplish defensively against both Tiffin and Ashland.

“She did her job,” said Jennings. “She did it well. Touches at the net don’t show up on stats, but that is a big part. She was good defensively there.

“She had 11 digs in the two matches combined. As a middle, you only get in and dig a couple of times. She’s got great ball control.”

The Huskies return to action next weekend when they travel to take part in the Midwest Region Crossover. The Huskies enter the Crossover ranked third in the GLIAC, which means they will be in the upper bracket of the tournament and play stronger opponents throughout the weekend. Should they win their matches, Tech’s regional ranking will improve.