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Tech sweeps the day and tournament, Kuizenga named MVP

Tech sweeps the day and tournament, Kuizenga named MVP

SEASIDE, Calif. – No. 23 Michigan Tech wrapped up its season-opening weekend with two more sweeps on Saturday (Aug. 27) to finish 4-0 at the Otter Invitational—all in straight sets. The Huskies defeated Cal State Dominguez Hills in the morning and tournament-host Cal State Monterey Bay in the afternoon.

"What a great day to be a Husky," Tech coach Matt Jennings said. "We're super happy to come out of this weekend undefeated and having come together more as a group. We battled through some really tough moments in every match here this weekend. Today was a great example of how important it is to play the whole set through to the end and work to finish your best late in sets. Our comeback in the first set of the Monterey match was a turning point for us in the match, and maybe for us as a team early in the season. We showed some guts and toughness out there for sure. What a great way to start the season."

Outside hitter Jillian Kuizenga was named the MVP of the Otter Invitational and was on the all-tournament team after she averaged 3.25 kills per set on the weekend while hitting .265. Setter Lina Espejo-Ramirez and libero Carissa Beyer were also named to the all-tournament team. Espejo-Ramirez averaged 9.58 assists per set and 2.92 digs per set. Beyer led the Huskies' defense with 3.8 digs per set.

"Jillian was outstanding for us all weekend," said Jennings. "She really brought it on the attack and came up with some huge points for us. Lina did a very nice job running the court in all four matches. Carissa was excellent in serve receive and really anchored our backcourt well.

"We will travel safely back home and get ready for another big weekend down in Kenosha."

Michigan Tech 3, Cal State Dominguez Hills 0

The Huskies defeated the Toros 26-24, 25-20, and 25-15 to start the day. Tech racked up 20 kills in the first set and hit .515. The Black and Gold closed the second set on a 9-5 run and cruised in the third set with runs of 7-1 and 5-0.

Kuizenga tallied 14 kills in the match while hitting .444. Lindy Oujiri added nine kills while Meg Raabe and Janie Grindland added five each. Espejo-Ramirez had a double-double with 33 assists and 11 digs. Beyer led with 12 digs.

Michigan Tech 3, Cal State Monterey Bay 0

Tech trailed in all three sets but rallied to take down the Otters 26-24, 25-20, and 25-22. CSUMB held setpoint in the first before the Huskies stormed back with five straight and the 1-0 lead after a kill by Espejo-Ramirez. The Black and Gold scored eight of the last nine points in the second to take a 2-0 lead and then went on a 6-1 run at the end of the third to seal the win.

Raabe led the attack with 11 kills and added nine digs. Kuizenga (7) and Oujiri (6) also put down more than five kills. Espejo-Ramirez set the offense with 25 assists. Beyer anchored the defense with 18 digs while Kate Walch stepped up with a career-high 13 digs.

The Huskies travel to Parkside's tournament next weekend (Sept. 2-3) and play Upper Iowa, McKendree, Illinois Springfield, and Minnesota Crookston.