FREMONT, Neb. – No. 1 Midland University volleyball owned a six-point lead late in the second set, looking to take a 2-0 advantage over No. 3 Hastings College on Wednesday night.
The Broncos flipped the script though, rallying to erase their deficit and win the second game en route to a 3-1 victory over the Warriors in front of a record-setting crowd of 2,088 at the Wikert Event Center.
Hastings handed Midland its first loss of the season by set scores of 23-25, 26-24, 25-20 and 25-18.
“Hastings played really well tonight and was able to keep us on our heels for a good portion of the match,” said head coach Paul Giesselmann. “What our team is most disappointed in is the amount of mental errors we committed which resulted in errors in the box score. We just didn’t respond tonight when we had our opportunities and that’s the first time that’s happened to this group all year. Hastings controlled the serve and passing game and that was the difference tonight.”
Midland trailed 8-3 in the opening set before rallying to knot the score at 11-11. Ten more ties and 11 lead changes followed in the back-and-forth set before the Warriors finally pulled ahead for good at 23-22 on a kill by Priscilla O’Dowd. A trio of miscues ensued with Midland claiming the game on a Bronco service error.
With the second set tied, 9-9, after Midland once again trailed early, the Warriors put together an 8-2 run to open up a 17-11 advantage. Midland stretched the lead to 19-13 on a Bronco attacking error and looked poised to grab a 2-0 advantage in the match.
Hastings began its furious comeback from there, cutting its deficit to 22-21. The Warriors temporarily halted the Bronco momentum, reaching set point at 24-21, but Hastings answered again with five straight points to win the game and tie the match at 1-1.
Despite recording their best attacking percentage of the night in the third set, the Warriors never really found their rhythm in the third game. A kill by KC Heimann tied the game at 6-6, but it was all Hastings from there. The Broncos opened up a six-point lead midway through the match and held it late at 19-13 as well.
Midland went on a 6-1 run, cutting its deficit to just one point at 20-19, but Hastings never relinquished its lead, answering with a four-point run, eventually closing out the pivotal third set.
The Warriors found themselves trailing again early to open the fourth set, but again battled back and ran out to a 15-12 lead looking to extend the match. With the game tied at 16-16, Casey Krolikowski floored a kill to put Hastings in front for good. The Broncos proceeded to close the set on an 8-1 run, completing their upset victory on the road.
Midland entered the match ranked fourth in the country in hitting percentage, but was held to a season-low .063 on Wednesday.
Shelby Bretschneider downed a career-best 12 kills in the loss while Sage Meyer recorded a match-high 17 kills for the Broncos.
Midland falls to 17-1 (7-1 GPAC) and Hastings improves to 16-2 (7-1 GPAC), tying the teams atop the conference standings.
The Warriors return to action on Saturday, looking to begin a new winning streak at Dakota Wesleyan University. First serve is scheduled for 3 p.m. in Mitchell, S.D.