FREMONT, Neb. – No. 8-ranked Midland University volleyball opened up Great Plains Athletic Conference play on Wednesday night as they hosted Morningside College at Wikert Event Center. After taking the first two sets, the Warriors had to rally themselves in the third set to earn the sweep (25-17, 25-17, 26-24). Midland improves to 9-2, 1-0 GPAC while Morningside falls to 5-5, 0-1 GPAC.
The first two sets went the Warriors’ way as they took care of the Mustangs by identical scores of 25-17 in both sets. In the opening set Midland hit set the tone hitting .304 on the attack while limiting Morningside to just .200 attacking.
Set two saw a bigger gap between the two schools. The Warriors jumped up to a .379 attacking percentage with 12 kills against one lone error while the Mustangs committed 9 errors while flooring 12 kills for a .097 hitting mark.
Excitement entered the event center in the third set as Midland jumped out to a 19-15 lead and looked relaxed with the lead. That all changed pretty quick as Morningside found a favorable rotation and responded with nine straight points to take a 24-19 lead. The Warriors burned both timeouts during the rally and finally found a stop at just the right time.
Trailing by five with a fourth set looming, senior Jenny Bair stepped up to the service line as Midland looked to go on their own rally to take control back. The Warriors responded with seven straight points to take the set and complete the sweep of the Mustangs. In addition to the defensive play of the senior captains of Bair, Jessica Peters and Priscilla O’Dowd it was sophomores Maggie Hiatt and Sydney Morehouse who finished off the win as they each had a pair of kills in rally to win 26-24.
“Any time you can get a sweep in the GPAC is great and I thought playing a pretty solid Morningside team to open conference play was going to be a challenge for us,” said head coach Paul Giesselmann after the match. “I liked our offensive efficiency tonight. Hitting over .300 is always a good night.”
“However I didn’t feel like our overall team defense was that good. We had a couple of shaky ball control moments tonight. Even though we had a good night offensively and got the sweep, there are still area where we need to get better at.”
Peters, who had 30 assists on the night, led a balanced attack once again as four different players had double figures swings and each hit over .200 percent. She also was key defensively as she dug up 21 balls to lead the Warriors for double-double. She had 11 digs in the third set alone.
Hiatt and Bair both reached double figures in kills with 12 and 10 respectively while Taylor Petersen had 8 and O’Dowd finished with 6.
Midland (9-2, 1-0 GPAC) won’t get much of a break before their next GPAC game. They’ll host Mount Marty (2-4, 0-1 GPAC) on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in Fremont at Wikert Event Center.