SIOUX CITY, Iowa – No. 11-ranked Midland University set the tone early on their way to a three set sweep over (RV) Marian University on the first day of pool play at the NAIA Volleyball National Championship. The Warriors took the opening set 25-14 and followed it up with games of 25-22 and 25-20 in their first game the tournament. The victory was head coach Paul Giesselmann’s 200th win at Midland and his 427th of his career.
“I thought our team played very well to open the tournament against a very good Marian team,” Coach Giesselmann said afterwards. “Our players played a low error match and pass as good as we have all year. Now we’ve got to get ready for a talented Saint Xavier team. We will have to do a better job on the block tomorrow if we’re going to win.”
Jessica Peters coordinated the Warriors as they hit a season-best .327 attacking percentage. Both Priscilla O’Dowd and Jenny Bair had 11 kills each to lead the team.
The duo had 12 kills in the opening set as Midland jumped out to a 5-0 lead. They built that lead to seven on a couple of occasions before ending the set with a 6-1 run.
The Knights regrouped in the second as the two teams traded points nearly all set. After being tied at 10 apiece, the Warriors went on a short run to gain a three point advantage and kept Marian at that distance the rest of the way.
Jessica Nekl led the team 14 digs while Jaisa Russell had 13 of her own. As team Midland dug up 54 balls limiting Marian to a .155 hitting percentage.
In the final set Marian had a couple of late surges to tie the game at 16 and then 18 and 19 before Midland closed them out. Shelby Bretschneider and Taylor Petersen each had a pair of kills after the final tie to seal the victory for the Warriors.
Up next for Midland (20-9) will be Saint Xavier University (35-5). The two teams met early in the season on August 25th. The Warriors swept the Cougars at the SXU/TCC Crossover Tournament. The Pool F match is set for 4:00 p.m. inside the Tyson Event Center.