Volleyball Advances to GLIAC Tourney Semifinals After Thrilling Five-Set Victory Over Michigan Tech

The Cardinals advance to face Ferris State Saturday at 3 pm in the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals...
The Cardinals advance to face Ferris State Saturday at 3 pm in the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals...

The Basics
Score: Saginaw Valley 3, Michigan Tech 2 | GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinals
Records: SVSU (19-10) | MTU (16-15)
Location: Hamilton Gymnasium - University Center, Mich.

UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - Competing in the 2016 GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinals, the SVSU volleyball team faced a familiar opponent on Wednesday (Nov. 16) night in the Michigan Tech University Huskies. The teams recently met on Friday (Nov. 11), with SVSU avenging an earlier season 3-0 loss by defeating the Huskies by a 3-1 margin. The evenly-matched teams did not disappoint in the quarterfinal round, as the Cardinals came back from a 2-0 deficit and won a thrilling five-set match, 3-2.

The first set featured 14 ties and the lead changed hands seven times. After the score was knotted at 23-23, the Cardinals pulled ahead 24-23 after a Husky attack error. Michigan Tech would, however, respond and take the final three points to take a 1-0 lead in the match after a 26-24 win. Andrea Brigham led the way in the opening frame with five kills and six digs.

The second set saw SVSU lead most of the way and when the score was 23-19. Tech responded to know the score at 23-23 to make for an interesting finish. The Cards pulled back ahead at 24-23 after a kill by McKenzie Schuster but, once again, the Huskies closed-out with three straight points to take the second frame by the same 26-24 score. Schuster posted five kills in the second while Brigham had another six digs.

Saginaw Valley jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the third and that advantage would be erased when the visitors tied the score at 13-13. The score and lead would bounce back and forth, with Tech forcing ties at 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 in response to Cardinal points and leads. With the count knotted at 25-25, the Cardinals got a kill from Brigham and an attack error from the Huskies to seal a 27-25 win in the third. Schuster, Brigham and Kaylee Schmitt all had four kills in the third while Emily Nieman led with six digs.

The fourth set was a marathon frame, as the Cardinals would edge-out the Huskies by a score of 33-31. The Cardinals led all the way until the score was tied at 21-21, which is where the back and forth began. In a set that featured 14 ties and four lead changes, SV was the team that responded to several match points, tying the score at 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30 to remain alive. The teams traded blows after that and the score would stand at 31-31 with Tech serving. The Huskies had a service error and that was followed by a kill from SVSU setter Kelly Vellucci, tying the match at 2-2 and forcing the fifth set. Schmitt recorded seven kills in the fourth while Nieman and Tamara Heller each added seven digs.

After a pair of early ties, the Cards maintained a lead until Michigan Tech knkotted the score at 9-9 with back-to-back points. SV responded with a pair of its own, taking an 11-9 edge. The home squad wouldn't led that lead squander, remaining solid and closing out for the five-set victory with a 15-12 decision in the fifth. Nieman added seven more digs in the final set while Schmitt and Brigham each posted four kills.

Inside the Boxscore

  • The match featured 51 total ties and 18 lead changes.
  • SVSU had 113 digs in the contest in comparison to Tech's 107.
  • Brigham was chosen as the Chili's Player of the Match after her 18 kills and career-high 23 digs. She added a pair of blocks in the victory.
  • Kelly Vellucci had a big night setting up her teammates for success, as she recorded a career-best 69 assists in the victory with 13 digs.
  • Schmitt added a career-high 19 kills while hitting .341 with four blocks. 
  • Schuster added 17 kills with four blocks in the contest.
  • Heller added 22 digs with 10 kills for the Cardinals.
  • Nieman had a team-best 25 digs in the match.
  • Abbie Toland also reached double-figures in digs, posting 17 for the Cardinal defense.
  • Kennedy Marker chipped-in with nine kills and had a match-best five blocks for the defense.

From Head Coach Will Stanton

Up Next...

The Cardinals, who were still listed as the No. 5 ranked team in the latest Midwest Regional Rankings, advance to the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals on Saturday. SVSU will square-off with No. 1 seed and GLIAC regular season champion Ferris State University. First serve is set for 3:00 p.m. The Bulldogs claimed the only matchup between the teams this season, claiming a 3-0 win on November 19 at SVSU.

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