NMU loses 5-set thriller to Huskies

Northern Michigan University's Jami Hogeboom. top right, leaps to attempt a kill over the blocks of Michigan Tech's Lauren Emmert, No. 12 in black, and teammate Olivia Ghormley. (Photo courtesy Gabe Appleton)

By RYAN SPITZA

Journal Sports Writer

MARQUETTE — Madison Whitehead had 15 kills but it wasn’t enough as the Northern Michigan volleyball team fell to Michigan Tech in five sets at a packed Vandament Arena in Marquette on Saturday.

The Huskies won 25-21, 23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 18-16.

MTU (17-8 overall) moved into second place alone in the GLIAC at 11-3, while the Wildcats (18-7) fell into a tie for third with Grand Valley State at 10-4.

Ferris continues to lead the GLIAC with a 12-2 record after also winning Saturday. And Wayne State is 9-5 in a battle with Northern and GVSU for a top-four spot that earns home court in the first round of the upcoming GLIAC Tournament.

NMU head coach Mike Lozier said he was stunned by Saturday’s outcome.

“First of all you have to say that Tech played really well,” he said. “We gave them everything we had and they just ended up winning. Regardless of the outcome, I told my team I’m proud of the way we played.”

MTU head coach Matt Jennings said senior leadership was key.

“That was such a great battle,” he said. “We expected coming in that it was going to be a good game. (A) 14-11 (score) in the fifth set and Northern was good enough to come back from that.

“They really pushed us with two really good serves but it was our seniors at the end there that pushed our team. I’m really proud of my girls.”

Set 1 started on a kill from Whitehead. The Wildcats’ biggest lead was at 13-8 before the Huskies tied it on a service ace by Laura DeMarchi, then pulled ahead 19-18 on an attack error and didn’t surrender the lead.

Set 2 was also close throughout. The largest lead for most of the set was three points. Then at 23-23, NMU took the final two points, ending on a kill by Sarah Kuehn.

In Set 3, neither team could get a lead bigger than one point until the Wildcats went up 17-15 on a Jamie Hogeboom kill. NMU won the set on an attack error.

After MTU took control early to win Set 4, the Huskies gained a 4-1 edge in Set 5 and forced NMU to play catch-up until they scored five in a row to go ahead 15-14. But MTU responded and won 18-16 on a Lauren Emmert kill.

Whitehead added six block assists to her leading kill total, while teammate Kayla Chosa had 12 kills and six total blocks, three solo, and Sarah Kuehn added 11 kills and eight total blocks, two solo.

On Friday, the Wildcats host Ferris while MTU hosts Northwood.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net

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