FREMONT, Neb. – Facing a two set deficit for just the second time this season Midland University rallied back before a crowd of 1,423 to defeat Doane University. The Warriors improve to 14-3 (7-0 GPAC) while the Tigers move to 9-9 (1-5 GPAC).
Early on in the opening set the two teams battled back and forth. They were tied seven different times before either reached double figures. With the set tied 9-9, Doane took control of the set as they gained a 10-9 lead and would never trail as they won 25-19. Midland was held to a .162 hitting percentage in the set as they had four attacking errors.
Set two saw that momentum carry over at the Tigers raced to a 3-0 lead before Midland could regroup to tie the set at four. That didn’t phase Doane though as they went on another run and never trailed in the match, winning 25-15, to go into the set break with a commanding 2-0 lead.
Midland took advantage of the locker room visit and came out looking like a completely different team. They jumped out to a 4-0 lead to force a Doane timeout. The Tigers would battle back to knot the set up at 11 all before another Warrior run to close the match, 25-20. Shelby Bretschneider and Taylor Peterson led the way in the set with nine kills between to two sophomore hitters.
Set four saw the intensity of both teams rise as Doane was looking to close out the match and Midland was looking to force a fifth and fin set. It was a back another back and forth battle the two teams were deadlocked nine times, the last coming at 15-15. Midland took control after that as Bretschneider smashed a kill and then an error by the Doane attack put them up 17-15, forcing a timeout by the Tigers. Midland would end the set on an 8-3 run that included five errors by the visitors.
With the match tied now at two sets apiece, the momentum was clearly on Midland’s side. The fifth set was never in doubt as they jumped out early to leads of 4-1 and then 7-2 which resulted in timeouts by the Doane coach in attempts to stem the tide. That wouldn’t happen as Midland would win 15-11 to cap off the comeback. In the set the Warriors blocked four Tiger attacks and had 14 blocks on the match.
“You have to give Doane credit, they played a very good match, especially the first couple of games,” stated coach Paul Giesselmann. “They had us on our heels but I was very proud of how our girls were able to keep their composure. We made a few changes and they just battled back one game at a time. Once we got into the fifth set we started looking like a top ten team at that point.”
“We lost the serve and pass early on and then once we made a few adjustments we started serving and passing better. That was a big difference that allowed our defense and block to get going.”
Tonight’s matchup of Top 25 NAIA teams is the first of three tough contests for the Warriors as they will face to fellow top ten teams in the next pair of matches.
First up is No. 6 Dordt (17-3, 5-1 GPAC) on September 30th. The Warriors will host the Defenders for Saturday afternoon clash starting at 3:00 p.m. inside Wikert Event Center in Fremont.