FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University’s volleyball team fell to No.5-ranked Hastings College on Wednesday night in front of a packed house. Hastings, the defending GPAC and National Champions, completed the regular season sweep of Midland, 26-24, 21-25, 25-14, 25-11. The Warriors are now 17-7 (10-4 GPAC) while the Broncos move to 21-1 (13-1 GPAC).
Prior to the match Midland honored their six players and two student managers, Jessica Childress, Taylor Grass, Jessica Harms, Gabby Knobbe, Jordan Lempka, Taylor Liesenmeyer, Jessica Nekl and Bailey Preston. Over the last four years this group has help the Warriors to three consecutive GPAC Tournament final, three appearances in the NAIA National Championship including an elite eight and final four finish. Midland also spent six weeks ranked number one too.
In the first set Midland looked to have Hastings’ number as they build a 22-16 lead. They were passing in the ball well which led to ten kills in the early going. They did have an issue with errors though which kept the Broncos in the match. Those errors snowballed in after the big lead as Hastings went on 10-2 run to close the match, aided by five Warrior errors.
“We had a great opportunity tonight and we came out and competed,” stated coach Paul Giesselmann after the match. “We got up early on Hastings but let the first set slip away. That was big momentum boost for them in the match. To be a top ten team you have to close out a match when you’re up 22-16.”
Midland would even things up in the second as they hit .216 and held the Broncos to a -.069 percentage. Both Maggie Hiatt and Sydney Morehouse had three kills in the set to lead the way. Each team had their share of errors though as the Broncos had eight attacking errors and the Warriors five.
“In the second we dug a hole for ourselves but I loved how our kids fought back and took control of the set and closed it out. We showed what we’ve been working on to get back to 1-1.”
Hastings’ serve and receive was the key to their victory as they had 11 ace serves on the match. Four of which came in the final two sets. Their passing was fundamentally strong as well as they hit .417 and .306 to close out the match.
The Warriors struggles as they had 17 kills along with 17 hitting errors in sets three and four. Priscilla O’Dowd finished with 12 kills while Hiatt added 11.
“You have to give Hastings credit for their serving and passing in games three and four. They were dominant and unfortunately we weren’t able to match. These last three weeks we have shown flashes of being a very, very good team. We’ve got to get back in the gym and work on being a much more consistent team. We’ve got another great opportunity this weekend.”
That opportunity is a match with No. 6 Dordt College (25-5, 12-2 GPAC) on Saturday. First serve between the third and fourth place GPAC teams is set for 5:00 p.m. in Sioux Center, Iowa.