The Ashland University volleyball team suffered its first defeat in GLIAC play, falling to visiting Michigan Tech in five sets, 18-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18, 17-15, on Saturday (Sept. 29) afternoon at Kates Gymnasium.
The Eagles (15-3, 8-1 GLIAC) had won their first nine matches in their home gym going into the match, which featured two teams receiving votes in the AVCA national coaches' poll.
Ashland came out blazing against the Huskies (14-3, 8-1 GLIAC) in the first set, turning a 9-7 advantage into a 20-10 lead with an 11-3 run. A block by redshirt-junior Michaela Ping and freshman Zoey Peck gave the Eagles the win.
The Eagles trailed in Set 2 by a 16-13 score, but rallied for a 19-17 lead with a 6-1 run keyed by three kills from senior Reanne Neal. Michigan Tech fought off three set points, but junior Sophi Cudworth put it away with a kill off a Peck set.
The third set was tied at 15, but Michigan Tech went on a run to take a 22-16 lead. The Eagles battled back and a block by freshman Erin Krupar cut the deficit to 23-22, but the Huskies scored the next two points to extend the match.
Michigan Tech led the fourth set wire-to-wire to force a fifth set.
The Eagles came out to a 7-4 lead in the final frame, getting three straight kills from Krupar, Ping and Krupar again to force an MTU timeout. Krupar's kill to give the Eagles a 10-6 lead forced another timeout by the visitors, but they rallied back after that, taking a 13-11 lead on consecutive kills by Olivia Ghormley.
Trailing 14-12, junior Shelby Woycik and Krupar put down kills, fighting off two match points. After a kill by Mariah Sherman gave Michigan Tech match point again at 15-14, a service error tied the game. MTU then scored the last two points to take the win.
The Eagles had a balanced offensive attack with four players totaling at least a dozen kills. Krupar led the group with 16 kills (.111) and 15 digs. Neal added 14 kills (.281) and four blocks. Cudworth put down 13 kills (.282) and Woycik nailed down 12 kills (.026).
Peck had a double-double with 52 assists and 18 digs. Senior libero Kaitlin Bean led the back row with 20 digs.
Ghormley paced the Huskies with 25 kills (.215) while Laura DeMarchi had 62 assists and 16 digs.
Michigan Tech out-hit the Eagles, .243 to .179, and Ashland held a 10-8 edge in blocks.
The Eagles will return to the court on Friday (Oct. 5) at Northwood at 7 p.m.