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Huskies split Saturday to wrap up UP Open

Huskies split Saturday to wrap up UP Open

MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team wrapped up play at the UP Open, hosted by Northern Michigan, with a Saturday split. The Huskies swept Minnesota Crookston 3-0 in the morning match and fell 3-2 to Hillsdale in the evening.

"Today was a good day for the Huskies," Tech coach Matt Jennings said. "In fact, I'm really proud of the way these Huskies fought all weekend. We went toe to toe with three premier teams, pushing two solid teams to five and sweeping our first match today.

"I'm really happy we took care of business in the morning match against Crookston. After a tight start, we really settled in and got going to finish the match strong.

"In my twelve seasons as a Husky, we've battled with Hillsdale nearly every single time. Today was another thriller where I feel the more veteran team probably won. Lindy played an incredible match and once again, we saw what her and Kaycee are capable of doing. Our middles are the real deal, and it was great seeing Tess get them going, including Rachel. Alayna did a solid job in the backcourt today, and I'm super proud of how hard Brooke played all weekend long."

Michigan Tech 3, Minnesota Crookston 0

The Huskies earned their first win of the season in straight sets, 25-20, 25-15, and 25-9.

There were five ties and four lead changes in the first set. Tech trailed 19-18 late before going on a 7-1 run to take the 1-0 lead and never trailed again in the match. Lindy Oujiri led Tech with four kills in the opening frame.

The Huskies hopped out to a 4-0 lead in the second and dominated, hitting .297 while outscoring the Golden Eagles 18-6. Oujiri again led with six kills.

The third set was much of the same with Tech dominating 25-9, hitting .429 and forcing UMC into -.200. Fourteen different Huskies entered the match with Oujiri and Riley Stichter putting down three kills each.

Lindy Oujiri had a match-high 13 kills while hitting .455. Kaycee Meiners added nine kills and five blocks while hitting .692. Rachel Zurek (4), Riley Stichter (3), Brooke Dzwik (3), Zoe Rhines (2), Tess Hayes (1), and Lauren Richards (1) also added kills offensively. Tess Hayes set the offense with 22 assists, and Alayna Corwin led the defense with 13 digs while Dzwik added nine digs.

Hillsdale 3, Michigan Tech 2

Tech won the first and fourth sets but the Chargers took home the win 23-25, 25-18, 25-15, 22-25, and 15-7.

There were nine ties and three different lead changes in the first set. Tied at 22, Kaycee Meiners had a pair of late kills, and the Huskies got the win after an error on the Chargers. Mieiners and Rachel Zurek combined for 10 kills in the first set.

Hillsdale (2-2) responded in the second and used a 6-1 run to take a six-point lead. Megan Kolp made it setpoint with a kill and then put down the winner to wrap up a five-kill set.

The Chargers then took the 2-1 advantage after the break, never surrendering the lead. They used a 9-0 run to take control and held the Huskies to .038 hitting.

Tech didn't go down without a fight, forcing a fifth set with a 25-22 win. Lindy Oujiri came alive with eight kills in the fourth while hitting .538. Tech slowly built a 23-19 lead before the Chargers made a late push. An Oujiri kill made it setpoint, and Alayna Corwin served an ace for the winner—her second ace of the set.

Hillsdale found momentum in the fifth set, going on a 6-0 run to take an 11-5 lead. The downstate squad turned to Marilyn Popplewell late in the match, and she hit down the final four kills to finish with six in the set and seal the win.

Lindy Oujiri notched a match-high 19 kills while hitting .410. Kaycee Meiners was also in double figures with 11 kills, while Rachel Zurek (9 kills) and Tricia Kennedy (7 kills) played major parts in the offense. Tess Hayes tallied 44 assists and 10 digs, and Alayna Corwin finished with a match-high 21 digs.

"We proved this weekend we can compete with the best," added Jennings. "We're a good team, and we'll continue to get better. While we need to be better in tight moments, anyone who saw us fight this weekend knows we played our hearts out."

The Huskies continue non-conference play next weekend at Minnesota Duluth's UP North Tournament. Tech plays No. 8 UMD on Thursday, No. 7 St. Cloud State on Friday, and Southern New Hampshire and Central Washington on Saturday.