SIOUX CITY, Iowa – No. 14 Midland University was able to pull off a three-set sweep over (RV) Aquinas College on Wednesday afternoon but they did not go down easily. In a battle between a pair of teams that won their opening match, it was the veteran Warriors that pulled away each set (25-21, 30-28, 25-16).
In the opening set Midland jumped out to a 6-4 lead before a string of errors allowed the Saints to take the lead 9-6. In that stretch the Warriors struggled against the defense, committing four attacking errors. Aquinas would continue their strong play through the middle part of the set before Midland regrouped and mounted a comeback.
With the opening set and control of the match on the line, the veteran Warriors rallied with an 11-4 run to close out the match, 25-21. The senior trio of Priscilla O’Dowd, Jenny Bair, and Jessica Peters combined for 9 of the Warriors’ 12 kills in the first set.
Aquinas would rise to the challenge in the second set, quite possibly the best set of the tournament thus far. With one team looking to even the match and other looking to take full control, it was a back and forth affair in set two. There were 21 ties in the set, the first coming at 3-3 and the last a 28-28. Neither team held more than a two-point lead during the match.
During the third set the fatigue of the Saints, who played a five-set thriller the day before, could be seen. After Aquinas took the lead 16-15, Midland went on a 10-0 run to finish the set and the match, 25-16.
“I was really proud of how our team battled today,” head coach Paul Giesselmann said after the win. “We lost most statistical categories but still found a way to beat a really good team. That’s all that counts this time of year.”
Peters finished the match with 4 kills and 8 digs to go along with a team-high 37 set assists, moving past the 4,900 mark for her career. O’Dowd led the team with 14 kills with a .429 hitting percentage while Bair added 8 kills and hit .167.
The youngsters came through for the Warriors as well. Brooke Fredrickson was key in the serving-receiving game. She had a pair of service aces while digging four balls. Sydney Morehouse had eight kills and four total blocks.
“Our serving and passing was solid tonight and that was the difference for us,” Coach Giesselmann added. “Sydney and Brooke both stepped up with big matches today.”
Midland (24-6) will look to secure a spot into bracket play and the Round of 16 on Thursday afternoon. They’ll take on No. 3 Columbia (38-4) at 4:00 p.m. inside the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.