Brave effort falls short for Tech volleyball

MIDLAND, Mich. – The Michigan Tech volleyball team fell in a five-set thriller at Northwood on Friday evening from the Bennett Center. Three players each had 22 kills in the match as Northwood won 21-25, 24-26, 25-20, 25-23 and 15-9.

Tech took the first two sets and rode the backs of Kendall Ward and Shelby Jones all night long. Ward put down 22 kills while hitting a .476 attack percentage. Jones added 19 kills for the Huskies who had two more kills than the Timberwolves in the match (62-60).

“Obviously we would’ve preferred a win, but I want be clear, we played excellent team volleyball tonight,” Tech coach Matt Jennings said. “We played very confidently and fluidly in those first four sets on both sides of the ball.

“It came down to the wire in the end and the more experienced team won. Credit Northwood, they’re a fine team.”

Tech falls to 9-18 overall and 5-10 in the GLIAC. Northwood (19-7, 12-3 GLIAC), a team tied for third overall in the GLIAC, was led by 2012 GLIAC Player of the Year Juliia Pakhomenko and Krysta Kramer with 22 kills each.

“Offensively, Kendall went pound for pound against Northwood’s All-American senior outside all match,” said Jennings. “Kendall at times was, unstoppable.”

Madeline Haben set up the Tech attack with a season-high 56 assists, four off a career high. Four players were in double figures in the digs category as the Huskies piled up 88, including 33 in the first set. Jacqueline Aird led with 23 digs while Rachel Pohlod (17), Jones (14), Haben (12) and Ward (11) also tallied over 10.

The Black and Gold added 12 aces in the match. Aird had a match-high five aces and Sarah Rasmussen added four and Pohlod recorded three.

“I’m most proud of how our defense stepped up,” Jennings said. “I challenged them to outwork Northwood defensively, and for the most part, they did. Jackie and Rachel were great in the backcourt. There were numerous times that Jackie kept us alive with big digs.”

Tech continues the road trip downstate today at Hillsdale. Match time is set for 5 p.m. The Tech football team is also at Hillsdale and kicks off at 1 p.m. against the Chargers.