FREMONT, Neb. – No. 7-ranked Midland University got everything they bargained for and then some from No. 13-ranked Hastings College on Tuesday night. After dropping two of the first three sets, they collected themselves and came back to win sets four and five to win the match (21-25, 26-24, 15-25, 25-20, 15-9) and remain unbeaten in Great Plains Athletic Conference play. They improve to 13-2 (5-0 GPAC) while Hastings falls to 8-3 (3-1 GPAC).
The first two sets saw the Warriors take an early lead only to have the Broncos erase it down the stretch. Hastings went on an 8-0 in the first set and then went on to win 25-21 but in the second Midland’s lead was too big to overcome completely as the Warriors held them off for a 26-24 win.
After the set break the Broncos proved to be too much to handle in the third set, taking it easily 25-15. Midland couldn’t get things going early and once Hastings took over the lead after a 4-4 tie they didn’t look back. Hastings hit a match best .286 in the set while Midland hit in the negative for the second set of the night (-.031).
In the fourth you could see the momentum starting to sway back to the home team. Taylor Petersen and Priscilla O’Dowd each had a couple of nice kills to start the set as Midland built a 10-6 lead. The duo were the main weapons for Midland as they lead wire to wire. However it was Jenny Bair who polished them off with back to back kills to seal the 25-20 win and send the match to a fifth set.
Midland had all the momentum to start the set as the Broncos were visibly on their heels and back to back blocks by the Warriors only added to the energy for the home team. Once again Midland took control early and just like in the fourth they went wire to wire for the 15-9 set and match victory.
“This was a big win for our program tonight,” head coach Paul Giesselmann stated afterwards. “It was typical GPAC match with two top ranked teams battling each other. It wasn’t always pretty times because both teams play such good team defense, but I thought the difference for us was when we started blocking better in games four and five. I liked how our players played with confidence down the stretch. I thought even though Sydney had a bit of a tough night offensively, she showed up big with a pair of blocks down the stretch. Priscilla showed why she’s an All-American middle tonight, hitting .400 against a really good team.”
Jessica Peters finished the night with a double-double, 39 assists and 17 digs. O’Dowd joined her with a team-high 14 kills and 12 digs of her own. Jaisa Russell (18), Mackeznie Wecker (11), and Kaitlyn Simon (10) also reached double-digit digs on a night when Midland finished with 78 as a team.
Bair and Petersen both had double figure kills with 12 and 11 respectively as Midland hit .085 for the night. At the net the Warriors had 12 blocks, led by Sydney Morehouse who had one solo block and five block assists.
Midland (13-2, 5-0) will be on the road for their next match. They’ll travel to Doane (9-7, 2-2) on Thursday, September 20. First serve between the Warriors and Tigers is set for 7:30 p.m. inside Haddix Recreation and Athletic Center in Crete, Nebraska.