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Tech falls at NMU, Earns share of GLIAC Title –

MARQUETTE, Mich. – No. 21 Michigan Tech wrapped up the 2021 regular season with a 3-2 loss at No. 19 Northern Michigan Saturday (Apr. 3). Despite the loss, the Huskies were still crowned GLIAC Regular Season Co-Champions with its 9-3 record.

“As hard as it is to swallow, there is absolutely no shame in this loss,” Tech coach Matt Jennings said. “Northern is a very good team and like us, went undefeated at home this year. This was a battle of the league’s two best offenses, and we knew that if it came down to going point for point on the offensive side of the ball, it’d come down to the wire. The difference between today and last night was defense. Our block had a hard time adjusting all match, and as well as our hitters did at times, it wasn’t enough.”

Similar to Friday night in Houghton, NMU took the first set before Tech tied it up in the second. Laura De Marchi served the Huskies to a 6-0 lead in the second. Tech built it to an eight-point lead at 21-13 and limited NMU to only nine kills while tallying 16 of its own to win 25-19.

NMU (11-2) controlled from the outset in the third. Back-to-back kills by Anna Jonynas made it a three-point game at 19-16, but the teams traded points until NMU took the win 25-21.

Tech dominated in the fourth using a 5-0 run to lead 7-3 and then closed the set on a 15-4 run to send it to a fifth set after a 25-11 win. The Huskies hit .621 and had 19 kills to only seven for NMU.

The Wildcats won 15-12 in the fifth set. They took a 6-3 lead and closed the match on a 5-3 run after Tech got within one at 10-9.

“We had some incredible performances this weekend,” added Jennings. “Anna was outstanding both days and the way she stepped up with Olivia out was inspiring. What a great player she is. Our freshmen really showed us something today as well. To come off the bench in a match like this one and give us that spark was impressive to say the least. Lindy played both days with a lot of courage and confidence and did everything this team asked of her.”

Anna Jonynas tied her career-high with 23 kills while hitting .375 and digging up 16 balls. Lindy Oujiri had a season-high 18 kills and hit .353. Janie Grindland was also in double figures with 11 kills while adding three block assists.

“Our upperclassmen were tough and put us in a position to win,” said Jennings. “Janie was scoring a lot of tough points for us again today, Grace’s passing was on point, and Meg and Laura’s leadership kept us in this one until the end.”

Laura De Marchi had 56 assists and led the team with 17 digs. She also added a pair of kills and a pair of block assists. Megan Utlak had a dozen digs and Grace Novotny added 11 digs.

“Look, I wanted this one as bad as anyone,” Jennings said. “But to earn a share of the GLIAC title means something to this program. We fell short today, but we did a lot of good stuff this year that we can be proud of.”

The only other time the Huskies won a GLIAC regular-season championship was 1994 when they also shared it with Northern Michigan.

Tech will wrap up the season at the GLIAC Tournament next weekend hosted by Saginaw Valley State.