FREMONT, Neb. – In the opening round of the Great Plains Athletic Conference Postseason Tournament, Midland University saw a familiar foe across the net on Saturday night. The 4th-seeded Warriors took on 5th-seeded Dordt University, the same team they finished the regular season against just a few days earlier on Wednesday in Sioux Center, Iowa. Midland, who won that match in five-sets, would win again over the Defenders. This time in four sets (25-23, 18-25, 25-21, 25-13).
In the opening set the Warriors played at a high level, finishing with 17 kills and hitting .250 from the attack line on 40 attempts. The Defenders nearly matched the level as they hit .222 with 13 kills on 36 attacks.
It was back and forth in the set as the teams exchanged points throughout. There were 15 ties and the biggest lead by either team was a 17-13 lead by Midland midway through. After a tie at 23-23, the Warriors got a kill by Maddie Wieseler to reach set-point and earned the victory on an attacking error by the Defenders.
Game two looked to be following the same script as the two teams once again traded points. There were four ties early on before Midland went on a 4-0 run to make it 9-5. They would keep the lead the rest of the way out as Dordt could only get small two point runs trying to cut into the lead.
Midland hit .194 in the second while holding Dordt to a .105 mark. The Warriors finished the set on a 6-1 run to take a commanding lead in to the locker room.
Out of the extended set-break it was Dordt who came out focused and reenergized. The Defenders started the third set on a 10-0 run, forcing a pair of Midland timeouts along the way. The Warriors would go a 4-0 run of their own to narrow the lead and pulled back within two points late at 20-18. However the early deficit was too much to overcome as Dordt won the set 25-21.
As the teams switched benches to begin the fourth, the Defenders momentum didn’t make the move as the Warriors took control of the set earning the first two points. The 2-0 lead was one they wouldn’t relinquish as they built upon it with at 7-0 run to make it 15-5.
Dordt did all they could, calling both of their timeouts and making subs, trying to stop the Warriors’ run and start one of their own. That wouldn’t happen though as Midland cruised to a 25-13 victory to win the set and the match.
“I was really proud of the girls tonight,” head coach Paul Giesselmann said after the contest. “The way they came out tonight. It was high-level volleyball in game one and for us to get that first game was a big key to the match tonight because we got the momentum going our way. We really played low error. To be able to beat them twice in the same week I think shows how far our team has come since August. That’s really what we try to do. We’re constantly trying to improve the team. We make changes and stuff so that at the end of the season we’re playing our best volleyball.”
Midland was led offensively by Brooke Fredrickson who had a team-high 16 kills, hitting .400 along the way. Sydney Morehouse also reached double-digit kills with 13 and hit a team-high .458 for the match.
The duo also had a big hand in the defense at the net. Fredrickson had four block assists while Morehouse had four assists and a solo block. Maggie Hiatt also added four block assist as Midland finished with 12 blocks as a team.
Taliyah Flores was the high dig leader with 16. Five others on the team had five or more digs as Midland dug up 59 balls in the four-set match.
“The crowd tonight was awesome,” Coach Giesselmann added. “We had a large group of parents and families and our student section was the best I’ve seen this year. Hopefully we can get a great crowd out again on Wednesday night for the semifinals.”
Midland (19-9) will advance to the GPAC Semifinals where they will take on 8th-seeded College of Saint Mary. The Flames upset top-seeded Northwestern on Saturday to keep their season alive. The two teams will serve it up inside the Wikert Event Center on Wednesday, November 13. Game time is slated for 7:00 p.m. in Fremont.