UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – No. 21 Michigan Tech advanced to the GLIAC Tournament Championship Match with a 3-0 sweep of Ferris State Saturday at O’Neill Arena on the campus of Saginaw Valley State. The Huskies will play No. 20 Northern Michigan Sunday at 1 p.m.
Tech won 25-17, 25-18, and 25-18 to defeat the Bulldogs for the third time this season. The Huskies improved to 11-3 overall and will appear in the GLIAC Championship for the third time in the last four seasons.
“Ferris State is a good team and storied program, that is talented and well-coached,” Tech coach Matt Jennings said. “That said, we did an excellent job neutralizing their offense here again tonight. To beat them three times this season is a credit to our players’ hard work and dedication. Our defense was so solid in this one, starting with getting quality touches at the net and really quality play out of our backcourt defenders.”
There were 11 ties in the first set before the Huskies took command late with a 5-0 run to get the lead while scoring 11 of the final 13 points for the win. Morgan Radtke set the tone in the middle with four kills, while Anna Jonynas and Lindy Oujiri had three kills each on the outside.
The Huskies had an 8-2 run in the second to take a 15-8 lead. Tech held the margin with Jonynas and Oujiri continuing to do damage on the outside as they combined for eight kills. Jonynas also dug up seven balls defensively.
Tech had a pair of 5-0 runs in the third to gain control and slowly put away the Bulldogs. The Huskies hit .314 in the set and got huge defensive efforts from Laura De Marchi (9 digs) and Grace Novotny (7 digs). Jonynas had seven kills and Oujiri got the match-clinching kill.
Anna Jonynas (15) and Lindy Oujiri (11) were the only players with double-digit kills in the match. Both hit over .300 and Jonynas added a team-high 16 digs.
“Anna is undoubtedly one of the best players in the country right now,” added Jennings. “She continues to perform at such a high level in so many different areas of the game. She’s such a wonderful teammate and humble warrior too, which makes it that much more fun to watch her out there.
“The way Lindy has stepped up is impressive, to say the least. She continues to score huge points for us in big matches, and we’re so proud of the way she has met the moment.”
Morgan Radtke added nine kills on only 18 attempts. Jillian Kuizenga (8 kills) and Janie Grindland (6 kills) chipped in offensively.
“Another huge piece of this win was our passing and side-out offense,” Jennings said. “It gave us a little bit more breathing room on the attack, which was huge. When Laura has options, we’re hard to beat.”
Laura De Marchi racked up 44 assists, 15 digs, two kills, and two block assists. Megan Utlak (15 digs) and Grace Novotny (14 digs) were also in double figures defensively.
The GLIAC Regular Season Co-champions, Tech and NMU, will meet for the third time after each team won on its home court to wrap up the regular season. The Huskies won 3-1 and the Wildcats won 3-2.
“Well, what can I say? I absolutely love that it’s an all UP final,” mentioned Jennings. “It’s the best rivalry in the league and for us to have split the regular-season title and now play for the tournament championship speaks volumes about the quality ball that our two programs bring to the region. I expect it to be quite a battle and a whole lot of fun. I know both teams are excited to play each other again. I know we’re ready.”
First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m. Fans can watch the match through SVSU’s website.