HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech Huskies fought hard for three competitive sets vs. The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs in the final match of the 2017 Keweenaw Classic, sponsored by Subway Restaurants. The Huskies had a lead in set one, but ultimately, the nationally ranked Bulldogs closed the 3-0 match (25-23, 25-20, 25,20). The Huskies now hold a 5-3 overall record.
Michigan Tech started out strong early in the first set, pulling ahead of Minnesota Duluth 15-10. The Bulldogs challenged Tech's heavy hitters, taking back set one. Duluth capitalized on their opportunities in sets two and three to hold a steady lead throughout the rest of the match.
"We are happy with the 3-1," said Tech Head Coach Matt Jennings. "We would, of course, have liked to go 4-0, but there is no shame in the loss to Duluth. They're a good squad."
"There are a couple of rotations where Duluth is particularly strong and a few where we know we could have scored some points," said Jennings. "I think we got caught in a couple of rotations where they caught fire and we tensed up a little bit. Against a team like Duluth, when it comes crunch time, they don't make mistakes. They seemed to get a hand on the ball more often than not, making it hard for us to score."
"We held them under .250 hitting. A team like Duluth can rattle off .300, .400 pretty easily, so I think that is pretty good," added Jennings. "Elle and Halie were phenomenal in the back row tonight. They kept so many balls alive for us."
Our defense was solid; Elle Heinonen led the back row with 22 digs, followed by freshman Anna Jonynas (13) and Halie Hart (10). The team as a whole totaled 60 digs, hanging tight with the Bulldog's 59 digs. Overall, the Bulldogs had six team blocks, and the Huskies were not far behind with five.
Setter, Laura DeMarchi, served as an asset for Tech, leading with 31 assists, four kills and six digs.
"I think the whole weekend was a lot of fun," said Jennings. "We played some great volleyball, and we saw our offense really clicking in those previous three matches. We have a good team and I just hope we continue to get better and work harder moving forward into GLIAC play."
The Huskies are back at the SDC Varsity Gym for two home matches this coming weekend, hosting Lake Superior State (1-5) Friday, Sept. 15 at 5:00 p.m. and Saginaw Valley State (1-7) Saturday, Sept. 16 at 4:00 p.m.