WHEELING, W.V. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team split a pair of matches from Wheeling Jesuit University on Saturday (Oct. 8). The Huskies defeated Fairmont State in their 3 p.m. match but fell 3-0 to No. 5-ranked Wheeling Jesuit in the late match.
"I'm so incredibly proud of our team's grit," Tech coach Matt Jennings said. "We played pretty darn well against two good teams today, one very good team in Wheeling. They're defending national champs for a good reason, they play smart and with limited mistakes. I thought for the most part, we played right there with them.
"Against Fairmont, we did a good job catching our groove as the match progressed, and I thought Rachel and Mariel both did a good job setting us to a win."
Michigan Tech 3, Fairmont State 1
The Falcons (11-6) won the first set 25-21, before the Huskies reeled of three straight, 26-24, 25-21, and 25-16.
Tied at 21 in the first set FSU, scored six of the final eight points for the lead. Tech controlled much of the second set before the Falcons knotted it at 23. A Mariah Sherman kill, Aubrey Ficek ace and an attack error by FSU tied the match.
The Huskies had to come from behind in the third and then scored ten of the final 11 points behind the serving of Rachel Pohlod to lead 2-1. Tech led the whole fourth set with Annie Raisanen seeing her first action of the season and getting the final kill for the Black and Gold.
Aubrey Ficek (14 kills) and MacAulay Petersen (13 kills) led the Huskies offensively, while Ficek added 11 digs defensively. Rachel Pohlod (20 assists) and Mariel Leibovitz (25 assists) split the setting duties. Elle Heinonen (17) and Halie Hart (11) added double digit digs.
Wheeling Jesuit 3, Michigan Tech 0
Fifth-ranked Wheeling Jesuit won 25-18, 25-19 and 25-19 to improve to 19-2 on the season.
Ficek again led the Huskies with 12 kills. Lauren Emmert added seven kills, while Emilia Widen had a career-high six. Pohlod set the attack with 31 assists while adding a dozen digs. Heinonen also had 12 digs defensively.
"Our pin attackers were so tough for us this weekend," added Jennings. "Ficek and MacAulay put up some big points for us today on the left side, and Mariah continues to show flashes of dominance. Maybe one of the nicest parts of the weekend was the production we saw out of Emilia Widen in the middle. She got her first real shot at starting today and made the absolute most out of it, on both sides of the ball."
The Huskies are 8-10 overall and 4-4 in the GLIAC. They travel to the Midwest Regional Crossover next weekend in Chicago for the final three nonconference matches on the schedule.
"The crossover is a wonderful event that gives us a chance to compete against three regional opponents," Jennings said. "With our conference standings all knotted up at the unofficial halfway point, we look forward to getting after it in Chicago. With all this travel we've put in, I'm pretty pleased with where we are. It certainly is exciting to know we play the majority of matches at home going forward."