HASTINGS, Neb. – The newly anointed top-ranked volleyball team in the NAIA kept its perfect record intact on Wednesday night by dispatching of No. 4 Hastings College in four sets.
The Lady Warriors claimed the match by rattling off three straight wins after dropping the first set.
“The girls knew they didn’t come out very strong to start the match tonight,” said head coach Paul Giesselmann. “Our team doesn’t panic though and that was the difference as we progress after that opening game. We stay poised and took care of things on our side of the net, and made a really good Hastings team work hard to score its own points.”
Midland committed 11 attacking errors in the first set en route to a 25-19 loss. The Warriors went on to post set score victories of 25-21, 25-21 and 25-22. Midland hit a match-best .333 with its back against the wall in the second set and only committed five errors in the final set.
The Warriors entered the match ranked third in the country with a .306 team hitting percentage, but were held to a .179 clip on Wednesday.
Despite the match score tied 1-1 at the break, Hastings was dominating the net with eight team blocks compared to just one by Midland. The Broncos finished the night with 15 blocks, but the Warriors picked up the pace and recorded seven in their winning effort.
“We weren’t very good offensively all night as we hit a lot of balls into the waiting arms of Hastings’ big blockers,” Giesselmann added. “But, our back row defense was really solid and picked up the slack for us.”
Midland racked up 91 digs on the night, a season high, and its most since digging up 94 balls on October 26, 2013. KC Heimann had a career-high 22 digs to go along with 12 kills.Anna Grovijohn also posted a career-best 19 digs. Darcy Barry added 17 digs from her libero position.
Haelee Kowalski produced a pair of service aces for Midland and was responsible for a number of long Warrior rallies from the service line.
Midland improves to 12-0 (2-0 GPAC) with the win and is now 8-0 against teams ranked or receiving votes in the Top 25. Hastings falls to 6-2 (1-1 GPAC) after the loss.
The Warriors returns to action at home next week against another nationally-ranked GPAC opponent. Midland will host No. 20 Doane University on Wednesday, September 14 for a 7:30 p.m. match in Fremont, Nebraska.