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‘Sherman’ thing: Huskies’ senior reached milestone, but still has playoffs to focus on

Dave Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette Michigan Tech’s Mariah Sherman attempts a spike during a match against Northern Michigan Friday at the Wood Gym.

HOUGHTON — When Mariah Sherman, who was named GLIAC North Player of the Week Monday, took the floor Friday night at the Wood Gym, it was for the final time as a Michigan Tech Huskies volleyball player in a regular season match. Just a week earlier, she had been honored for reaching 1,000 career kills with a ball that had the date of her achievement.

On Friday, she had to take the floor for another ceremony. As the lone senior on the Huskies’ roster, she was honored with the tales of her accomplishments over four years in Black and Gold. Her parents were also on hand and joined her on the floor.

All before a match against the Huskies’ main rival, the Northern Michigan Wildcats.

Sherman went mostly unrecruited through high school. Huskies coach Matt Jennings, upon coming across her at a match he was watching, was rendered speechless about that fact. How was a girl with this jumping ability, this hitting ability, still not snatched up by a college team?

“She was kind of late in the recruiting process,” said Huskies coach Matt Jennings. “We were told, ‘Hey, just go take another look at this kid.’

“We did, and gosh, I am so thankful that we did. Here is a kid that was willing to put herself on the line.”

Sherman was in the process of racking up 400 kills for the Midland Chemics, her high school team, in 2014. The team went 36-12 that season.

Jennings had visions of sliding Sherman into his offense that he was attempting to build from the ground up at Michigan Tech. He envisioned her opposite Aubrey Ficek, his talented and durable outside hitter.

He could not pass this raw, yet talented outside hitter.

Since she joined the Huskies in 2015, they have had four straight winning seasons, going 19-12, 16-15 and 20-11. Last season, they earned their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2009.

In that time, Sherman has racked up over 200 kills every season, including 319 already this season with two matches left in the regular season and at least one playoff game as well.

“She is one of the most explosive hitters I have ever come around,” said Jennings. “(She’s an) incredible athlete.

“We thought she could start as a freshman, and she did. She has started all four years and been a huge part of our offense.”

The praise for his senior does not stop there.

“Mariah thinks of other people first,” said Jennings. “She is just a good teammate.”

She has been one of the Huskies’ most consistent performers night in and night out, with 10 kills or more in all but five matches.

However, what she did Friday was nothing short of heroic. She put up her second 20-plus kill match of the season, with 22. Her season-high was 23 against Wayne State on Sept. 28. More importantly, she stepped her game up at a time when the Huskies needed her most as sophomore outside hitter Olivia Ghormley was effectively shut down for large portions of the match.

Sherman did not think twice about it, she just did it.

“I think that I tried to be as aggressive as I could all game,” said Sherman after Friday’s win.

Sherman’s teammates followed her leadership, which is all a coach can ask of his captain.

“I think everybody is able to adjust and step up,” she said. “I think the team is mature.”

The Huskies rode their lone senior to victory Friday night. It was the perfect way for the Midland native to finish off the home portion of her college career. A storybook ending for a very special player who has given everything she has to her team and her school.

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