Tech volleyball drops openers

WINONA, Minn. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team opened its 2013 season at the Winona State Tournament Friday. The Huskies lost 3-0 to Minnesota State Moorhead in a morning match and 3-2 to Upper Iowa in an afternoon tilt.

In the opener, Tech surrendered the first three points of the first set and never could make up the difference in a 25-22 loss. The Huskies had two set points up 24-22 in the second set but had attack errors at inopportune times. MSUM ended up claiming the frame 26-24. The momentum for the Dragons carried into the third set leading to a 25-16 decision.

“We came out a little slow,” said Tech head coach Matt Jennings. “Once we calmed down, we played side out volleyball. I think our youth showed a little bit in the key points, but Moorhead’s a good team in a good volleyball conference in the Northern Sun.”

The Huskies had a balanced attack offensively, but turned in a .031 hitting percentage compared to .183 for MSUM. Senior setter Madeline Haben totaled 22 assists and 13 digs in the contest.

Michigan Tech’s second match of the day was a see-saw affair with Upper Iowa. The Huskies dropped the opening set 25-22 but responded by winning the next two. Aubrey Ficek and Sylvie Rokosh posted back-to-back kills to put away the second set 27-25. Shelby Jones posted three service aces in a 6-0 Tech run to end the third set with a 25-21 victory.

UIU bounced back with a 25-16 victory in the fourth set to send the match to a decisive fifth. The teams played to an 8-all score before the Peacocks rattled off seven of the final eight points to claim the victory.

“It’s obviously a disappointing way to lose,” said Jennings. “But at this point in the season and with some of the things we showed, it wasn’t a bad match. We saw some really good play between the lines that we can build on.”

Rokosh posted a team-high 15 kills as one of four Huskies in double figures. Kienna Sharp added 11 kills with a team-best .308 hitting percentage.

Ficek, who was asked to play outside hitter for the first time, responded with 11 kills and eight digs. Jacqueline Aird turned in 21 digs without a reception error.

Rookie Rachel Pohlod chipped in 16 digs.

Michigan Tech will look to bounce back today with two more matches at the Winona State Tournament. The Huskies will face St. Joseph’s at 9 a.m. before closing out the weekend with a 3:15 p.m. match vs. the tournament host.