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Volleyball comes back for five-set win Saturday at PNW

Volleyball comes back for five-set win Saturday at PNW

HAMMOND, Ind. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team defeated Purdue Northwest 3-2 Saturday (Sept. 23) with a come-from-behind victory in Indiana. The Huskies trailed 2-1 and the result looked similar to Friday, but the Black and Gold responded on the road winning the fourth set in extra points and snapping the Pride's seven-game winning streak with a 15-10 win in the fifth.

"We talk a lot about resilience in our locker room and how we decide to respond to certain situations in a match or throughout the season," Tech coach Matt Jennings said. "While there definitely have been moments so far this year we'd like back, today we showed a lot of guts and fought hard when our backs were against the wall. Our resilience paid off here today, and I'm exceptionally proud of our team for pulling this one off.

"Northwest is a good team that not only serves the heck out the ball, they play a real fast offense that can spin you around. We hung in there in serve receive enough to get what we needed, and came up with defensive stops at big moments."

Trailing 2-1, the Huskies never gave up on the fourth set, overcoming nine ties and a pair of lead changes. Tech had an early five-point lead but eventually trailed 22-19. The Huskies then benefitted from four errors by the Pride and survived four match points. Kate Loch and Rachel Zurek had points late in the frame. A bad set made it set point for the Huskies before Tricia Kennedy and Rachel Zurek teamed up on a block for the 27-25 victory and 2-2 tie.

The Huskies turned to their senior leader Lindy Oujiri in the fifth, and she responded with five kills while hitting .714. Kate Loch added back-to-back kills late in the fifth and Rachel Zurek sealed the 15-10 win with a kill.

Just like Friday night at Parkside, Tech jumped out to a 1-0 lead but then dropped the next two sets. The Huskies forced the home team into 17 errors in the first set and got five combined kills from Lindy Oujiri and Rachel Zurek. Kaycee Meiners had three solo blocks and a block assist in the opening set. Tech scored 13 of the final 15 points and closed on a 7-0 run to win 25-14.

PNW (8-4, 3-1 GLIAC) evened it up with a 25-21 win in the second. Five different players had at least two kills for the home squad and they added three aces and three blocks.

The Pride never trailed in the third, winning 25-9 to take a 2-1 lead. The home team hit .320 with five aces and four blocks.

Rachel Zurek notched a season-high with 15 kills and hit .379. Lindy Oujiri tallied 14 kills, while Kate Loch added eight, and Tricia Kennedy finished with six. Tess Hayes set the offense with 33 assists and added 17 digs. Alayna Corwin (14 digs) and Brooke Dzwik (12 digs) were also in double figures defensively.

"Rachel was excellent here in this one. She's so fun to watch play when she gets going," added Jennings. "We're now on to one of the biggest, most exciting matches of the season. Northern at home is always a lot of fun to be a part of. We'll be ready to battle." 

Tech is 4-8 overall and 2-2 in the GLIAC and has a quick turnaround with a Tuesday match against Northern Michigan at the SDC Gym. First serve is set for 6 p.m. against the Wildcats.