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Volleyball sweeps No. 7 UMD to begin Keweenaw Classic

Volleyball sweeps No. 7 UMD to begin Keweenaw Classic Play Video

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team kicked off the season with a 3-0 sweep of No. 7 Minnesota Duluth Thursday (Sept. 2) at the SDC Gym. The Huskies controlled the first set 25-18 and held off late charges by the Bulldogs in the second 27-25 and third 25-23.

"I'm thrilled to start off the season with a big win here at home," Tech coach Matt Jennings said. "To have people in the stands, the pep band here—it was loud and I couldn't even hear myself talk—was fun.

"That is a good Duluth team that is young and will get much better. We played pretty well on our side. We did let some points go late in the second two sets, but we held on tight and that's what you have to do against good teams."

The Huskies scored four straight points to break a 9-all tie in the first. From there they wouldn't look back. Olivia Ghormley got hot with eight kills in the first with Jillian Kuizenga putting down five. Carissa Beyer made her Michigan Tech debut at libero and dug up six balls in the opening frame.

The team battled through 13 different ties in the second set. UMD held set point at 24-23 before a kill by Ghormley extended the match. The Bulldogs got set point right back before relinquishing three straight to the Huskies after two errors and a kill by Kuizenga.

Tech used a 6-0 run in the third to take a 12-6 advantage. The visitors battled back to make it interesting at 24-23, but Kuizenga came up clutch again with the final point to seal the win and get the crowd on its feet.

"The team's been pumped up all week," added Jennings. "We had so much energy going in, but once the band and crowd came in it really brought the energy to another level. That meant a lot to the players."

Kuizenga and Ghormley each tallied 15 kills. Anna Jonynas finished with 12 digs and nine kills and Janie Grindland added six kills.

Laura De Marchi set the offense with 42 assists while adding 11 digs and four kills. Megan Utlak led the Huskies with 16 digs while Beyer finished with 13.

UMD was paced by Cianna Selbitschka with 15 kills. Madison Gordon had 33 assists, and Sydney Lanoue tallied 14 digs.

Tech continues the Keweenaw Classic on Friday with a pair of matches. The Huskies host Minnesota State at noon and No. 16 St. Cloud State at 7:30 p.m.

"We have our hands full with St. Cloud, and Minnesota State and Northern went five tonight," said Jennings. "It's going to be a challenge, but we're looking forward to it."