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Huskies sweep SNHU, Split final day in Duluth

Huskies sweep SNHU, Split final day in Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team wrapped up its weekend at the Up North Tournament in Duluth with a split on Saturday (Sept. 9). The Huskies were dominant in a 3-0 sweep of Southern New Hampshire in the morning and fell 3-0 to No. 23 Central Washington in the evening.

"We finish the pre-GLIAC schedule far more confident in our abilities as a team knowing that we can compete with anybody," Tech coach Matt Jennings said. "What we've been working on each day in practice is starting to come together in an exciting way. We learned a lot about ourselves, what we're good at, and where we need to improve. We had breakout performances from a bunch of newcomers who grew up in a really valuable way and did it in a super competitive environment. Our leaders proved just how good they are in their role and as go-to players on our team.

"There's no question that we are prepared to start the GLIAC part of the season. We believe that we'll be right there in the mix of top teams this year so long as we keep improving and stay healthy. We begin with maybe the most dangerous team in the conference this Friday. Grand Valley at home is a great way to start it off."

Michigan Tech 3, Southern New Hampshire 0

The Huskies defeated the reigning NCAA Northeast Region Champions and 2022 Elite 8 team 25-19, 25-12, and 25-22 for their second win of the season and second sweep.

Tech recovered from a slow start to the match and closed the opening set on a 12-1 run, scoring the final 10 points to take the lead. Brynn Erickson served the rally and the Huskies got points from a number of different players. Rachel Zurek had four kills and three blocks in the first and Kaycee Meiners added three kills.

The Black and Gold dominated the second, hitting a blistering .571 and siding out at a perfect 100 percent clip with 16 kills and zero errors on the set. The Huskies used an 11-1 run to take a nine-point lead and closed on a 4-0 run for a 2-0 lead at the break. Kate Loch and Lindy Oujiri each had six kills.

Tech never trailed in the third and used a balanced defense with five different Huskies digging up at least four balls. The Penmen made a late push before Lindy Oujiri put the match away with the game-winning kill. She finished with four kills in the set and Kate Loch added four.

The Black and Gold was +13 on kills and hit .230 for the match. Freshman Kate Loch was efficient in her second collegiate match with 12 kills while hitting .458 with only one error and six blocks.

Lindy Oujiri led the Huskies with 13 kills for her sixth match in double figures while adding a pair of blocks and six digs. Freshman Rachel Zurek added 11 points, six kills, six block assists, and two aces. Kaycee Mieners added seven kills and four blocks. Amelia Albers had a match-high 17 digs.  The defense held SNHU to under .100 hitting, with 10 more digs and four more blocks. 

No. 23 Central Washington 3, Michigan Tech 0

CWU wrapped up a 4-0 weekend after defeating the Huskies 25-23, 25-11, and 25-15.

The Huskies had an early lead before the Wildcats had a 9-2 run and got to setpoint two points later. Tech made a late push with three straight blocks and a kill by Lindy Oujiri, but the Wildcats got a kill to take the 1-0 lead. Oujiri tallied six kills.

The Wildcats used a 15-0 run in the second to take control. Tech worked 14 different players into the match with four registering kills.

Tech turned to Rachel Zurek in the third, but the Wildcats continued to control late in the set and closed out the match hitting .387 in the frame. Zurek finished with five kills.

Lindy Oujiri hit double figures again with 11 kills and Rachel Zurek tallied eight kills. Kaycee Meiners finished with four kills and five blocks. Tess Hayes set the offense with 27 assists and added 11 digs. Brooke Dzwik also registered 11 digs.

"Aside from Concordia, Central Washington was probably the most all-around and toughest to beat in our early schedule," added Jennings. "Their setter is a next-level playmaker who commands the court in a way you don't see that often, so smooth out there. Add a next-level libero and a mix of attackers that play very well together, you can see why they're picked to win their conference this season and went undefeated this weekend. It's a well-coached team that plays a very cool and poised game.

"But just like each of these matches against the best, we had our moments. In the first, we played well and got to the finish line right there with them after trading blows the first 23 points. They closed out in the end and then flexed like they did versus UMD and St. Cloud in the next two sets. They can play shutdown volleyball and can make it pretty darn hard to score."

Tech returns to the SDC Gym next weekend to open GLIAC play against Grand Valley State on Friday and Davenport on Saturday.