HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team defeated Lake Supeior State 3-1 Friday night at the SDC Gym to open GLIAC play. Tech sealed the win in the fourth set 25-21 with the help of MacAulay Petersen and Mariah Sherman who had some monumental hits to take the lead.
"I don't think tonight's game was our best performance but like I've been saying, so far this year, good teams win close games," said Michigan Tech Head Coach Matt Jennings. "I think we are a good team and we won a close one here tonight. I credit Lake State for playing some good ball and keeping so many plays alive."
MacAulay Petersen, Mariah Sherman and Stephanie Dietrich all hit over .400 to set the team's pace in set one. In the beginning of the match, the Huskies out blocked the Lakers 3-0 and were hitting at .326. However, the Huskies shifted a bit out of system in the following sets.
"The third set we kind of came out flat footed, they were blocking us quite a bit," said Jennings. "There's a lot of different ways you can respond to dropping a tight one like that to Lake State, but I think we responded pretty well."
Lake Superior State took a lead in both sets two and three but some of the Huskies teammates developed to put a stop to the Lakers. Halie Hart stepped up the first two sets to solidify the back row. Defensively, Elle Heinonen and three other Huskies all tallied double digit digs. Heinonen (23), Hart (17), Laura DeMarchi (16) and Megan Utlak (13).
"Halie Hart has had a couple really good matches in a row defensively for us," Jennings added. "17 digs in the right back position, those aren't easy to come by. She really pushes the tempo for us, serves well and is one of the best passers I have ever had the honor to coach. She stood out for us in the back row with ball control."
Mariah Sherman had a dangerous hit this evening, racking up 17 kills at .469 and added three blocks. Sherman helped the Huskies back on their feet with some big hits in the fourth set to close the match. Powerhouse, Petersen, also pounded 19 kills and two blocks followed by teammates Olivia Ghormley (12), Lauren Emmert (9) and Stephanie Dietrich (6).
"It's hard to believe that MacAulay Petersen is only a sophomore," said Jennings. "She had a pretty nice match for us tonight and led us in kills. Mariah Sherman, is another one here tonight, really awesome to see her bloom and they had a really hard time shutting her down."
Lake Superior State totaled 14 team blocks and were led by Amanda Reid with 14 kills and nine digs. Brooke Williams also had nine blocks and 10 kills overall.
"We look to defend our home court tomorrow against a team who knocked us out of the playoffs in five sets last year," said Jennings.
The Huskies will have an opportunity for redemption as they host Saginaw Valley State tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 16 in the SDC Varsity Gym. First serve is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.