Tech volleyball defeats Northern Michigan, moves into 2nd place

Northern Michigan University's Jami Hogeboom. top right, leaps to attempt a kill over the blocks of Michigan Tech's Lauren Emmert, No. 12 in black, and teammate Olivia Ghormley. (Photo courtesy Gabe Appleton)

MARQUETTE — Madison Whitehead had 15 kills but it wouldn’t be enough as the Northern Michigan volleyball team fell to Michigan Tech in five sets in a thriller of a match at a packed Vandament Arena in Marquette.

The Huskies won 25-21, 23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 18-16.

MTU (17-8 overall) moved into second place alone in the overall GLIAC race at 11-3, while the Wildcats (18-7) fell into a tie for third with Grand Valley State at 10-4.

Ferris continues to lead the GLIAC with a 12-2 record after winning Saturday. And Wayne State is 9-5 and Tiffin 9-6 in a battle with Northern and GVSU for a top-four spot that earns home court in the first round of the upcoming GLIAC Tournament.

NMU head coach Mike Lozier said he was stunned by Saturday’s outcome considering how well his team played.

“First of all, you have to say that Tech played really well,” he said. “We gave them everything we had and they just ended up winning. Regardless of the outcome, I told my team I’m proud of the way we played.”

MTU head coach Matt Jennings said senior leadership was key in the victory and credited the Wildcats for being a strong team.

“That was such a great battle,” he said. “We expected coming in that it was going to be a good game. (A) 14-11 (score) in the fifth set and Northern was good enough to come back from that.

“They really pushed us with two really good serves but it was our seniors at the end there that pushed our team. I’m really proud of my girls.”

Set 1 started on a kill from Whitehead. The Wildcats jumped out to a 4-2 lead and still led 13-8, which would be their biggest lead of the set. The Huskies inched closer and tied it on a service ace by Laura DeMarchi, then pulled ahead 19-18 on an attack error and didn’t surrender the lead, winning the set on a kill by Olivia Ghormley.

Set 2 was also close throughout, treating fans to a tight back-and-forth frame. The Wildcats led early before the Huskies scored four straight to tie it 6-6. The largest lead the rest of the set was three points with the teams trading leads. Then with a 23-23 score, NMU took the final two points on an MTU attack error and a kill by Sarah Kuehn.

Set 3 was also close. After MTU tied the set at 7-7, neither team could gain a lead bigger than one point until the Wildcats went up 17-15 on a Jamie Hogeboom kill. NMU won the set on an attack error.

After MTU took control early to win Set 4, the Huskies gained a 4-1 edge in Set 5. NMU played from behind throughout the set and the Huskies got to set point on a kill by Stephanie Dietrich. Down 14-10, the Wildcats scored five in a row to take a 15-14 lead. The Huskies responded however and eventually won the set 18-16 on a Lauren Emmert kill.

Whitehead added six block assists to her leading kill total, while teammate Kayla Chosa had 12 kills and six total blocks, three solo, and Sarah Kuehn added 11 kills and eight total blocks, two solo.

In addition, Autumn Monsma had 10 kills, 18 digs and four total blocks, while Leticia Antunes added nine kills, 22 digs and three service aces. Jami Hogeboom had 54 assists and seven digs.

For Tech, Mariah Sherman led all players with 18 kills, while teammate Lauren Emmert added 14 kills and a team-high four blocks, two solo.

The Huskies’ Olivia Ghormley had 13 kills and three blocks, MacAulay Petersen 11 kills, Laura DeMarchi 59 assists, Elle Heinonen 24 digs and Megan Utlak four aces and 11 digs.

On Friday, the Wildcats host Ferris while MTU hosts Northwood.