SIOUX CITY, Iowa – No. 11 Midland University’s volleyball season came to an end on Friday afternoon as they lost a five-set battle with No. 12 College of Idaho at the NAIA Volleyball National Championship. The Warriors and the Yotes split the first four games setting up a final set to advance to the round of eight. College of Idaho took the fifth set 15-11 to move on to face No. 13 Missouri Baptist.
Midland started slow in the first set as they fell behind 3-0 and then 5-1 before settling down. They would go on an 11-3 run to take control of the set with a 21-16 lead. Priscilla O’Dowdwould floor five kills in the set to pace the Warriors.
In the second Midland fell behind early again, this time by a score of 7-2. The Yotes though would keep them at arm’s length though as they evened the match with a 25-17 victory. The Warriors hit .047 in the set, their lowest of the match, while Idaho had 14 kills and a .238 hitting percentage.
Midland would outhit the Yotes .189 to .182 in the third but dropped the set 25-22 to fall behind two games to one.
With their backs against the wall the Warriors played one of their best sets of the tournament. They floored 17 kills in the set and dug up the opposing attack time after time. Midland would finish with 114 digs on the afternoon as three players had 20 or more digs. Mackenzie Wecker had 28 to lead the team while Jessica Nekl had 25 and Jaisa Russell 20. O’Dowd and Jessica Peters also were in double digits with 12 and 15 respectively.
Midland would take the fourth set, 25-22, to force a final game to 15 to determine the match.
As was the case in the earlier sets, College of Idaho took an early lead. Midland fell behind 4-0 and never quite could recover in the shortened set. They would pull back within three on a couple of occasions before falling 15-11.
“It is always disappointing to end the season with a loss,” head coach Paul Giesselmann said afterwards. “We are extremely proud with how out team battled today. They improved immensely since August and we were playing our best ball as the end of the season.”
“It will be tough to say goodbye to another great group of seniors, who really represented Midland in the very best way in the classroom and on the court. I just love the effort we had in Sioux City this year and hope we can make it back.”
Midland finishes their year with a 21-11 record. They advanced to the NAIA National Championship final site for the fifth straight season and made it out of pool play and to the round of 16 for the third consecutive year. They will look to continue those streaks next year as they return a solid core of player from this year’s team.