BAY CITY, Mi. The Michigan Tech volleyball team has been picked second in the North Division in the GLIAC Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Huskies to continue their upward trajectory coming off back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament and three straight second-place finishes in the GLIAC North Division.
Head coach Matt Jennings has won 111 matches and enters his eighth year, coming off a pair of 20-win seasons, including the fourth-highest win total and third-fewest losses in a single-season with a 23-7 record in 2018. The Huskies also posted a mark of 14-2 in the GLIAC, the second most conference wins in program history, and the second-highest winning percentage against GLIAC competition in team history (.875). Tech spent six weeks of the 2019 season in the AVCA Top 25 and entered the NCAA postseason ranked No. 5 in the Midwest regional rankings. and graduated only two players and one starter.
In the 2019 Preseason Coaches' Poll, the Huskies were second in the North Division with 57 points, including four first-place votes. Ferris State (61) was the top pick after its fifth straight GLIAC Championship last year. Saginaw Valley State (44), Northern Michigan (33), Northwood (22), and Lake Superior State (14) round out the North. Ashland (57) and Wayne State (43) were selected to lead the South Division followed by Grand Valley State (41), Davenport (39), Parkside (24), and Purdue Northwest (12).
The Huskies lost only two players to graduation (one starter) and will be led by a pair of All-Americans in junior outside hitter Olivia Ghormley and junior setter Laura De Marchi. Both earned major league awards as Ghormley was the GLIAC Attacker of the Year and De Marchi the GLIAC Setter of the Year for the second straight season. Ghormley tallied 518 kills with an average of 4.58 per set to lead the GLIAC and rank sixth in the nation. De Marchi racked up 1,254 assists and averaged 11.72 per set to lead the league. Junior libero/defensive specialist Megan Utlak will anchor the back row coming off a season where she was fifth in the GLIAC in digs (511). Other key returners are junior Anna Jonynas, the team's MVP and top passer, who led the league with .50 service aces per set, senior middle blocker Emilia Widen who led the conference in hitting percentage (.344), and junior MacAulay Petersen who missed 2018 after being an All-GLIAC Second Team selection in 2017.
Tech hosts the Keweenaw Classic for the second time in three seasons to open the 2019 schedule with eight teams participating, including four from the ultra-competitive Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The other non-conference matches will be at the Huskies Classic at St. Cloud State and in the annual Midwest Regional Crossover Tournament during the third weekend of October in Indianapolis. The Black and Gold will play 11 home matches with seven home GLIAC contests.