FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University picked up an important win on Wednesday night as they swept Hastings College (25-22, 25-22, 25-16). The Warriors remain unbeaten in Great Plains Athletic Conference play at 5-0 while the Broncos fall to 2-3.
Both teams struggled to get their offense going early on as they both had hitting percentages in the negatives for set one. Midland had a -.089 while Hastings was held lower at -.103. The Warriors’ defense at the net was ended up being the difference as they stuff the Broncos eight times in the opener. Sydney Morehouse had a hand four block herself.
Midland led wire-to-wire in the set, forcing two early timeouts from Hastings as they built a 10-2 lead. The Broncos would rally back within three, 12-9, and then made it interesting as they pulled within one, 23-22. A kill by Brook Fredrickson and an error by the Broncos closed out the set for Midland.
In the second set the offenses settled down and put up more traditional numbers. Hastings hit .119 while Midland had a .233 percentage on the attack.
Hastings would jump out to a 5-1 lead, forcing a Warriors’ timeout, and would hold that lead nearly the entire way. Their lead grow to as many as six before Midland mounted a comeback. Down 20-15, the Warriors would get kills from Taylor Petersen, Morehouse, and Fredrickson along with a few errors from their opposition to pull within 22-21. That would trigger a timeout by Hastings aimed at stopping the run but neither that timeout nor the one three points later could keep Midland from taking the second set, 25-22, and a 2-0 match lead into the locker room.
After starting out in a back-and-forth fashion, six ties to begin the set, it looked like Hastings wasn’t going to go quietly. However a run of 10-3 put Midland in control of the set as they closed out the Broncos in straight sets.
“I thought our overall team defense and particularly our blocking in game one was impressive,” commented head coach Paul Giesselmann after the victory. “Overall though I was very disappointed in how we played tonight. As a matter of fact, we should’ve refunded the fans as they were walking out because it was such bad volleyball.”
Midland hit just .147 for the match, one of their lowest marks of the year, while committing 20 hitting errors and 8 service errors in the three set match.
“Now, coming back in game two after we were down five multiple times, I thought was the difference in the match. I thought that took the air out of Hastings a little bit. Offensively we finally got it going in game three and that was good to see. We just have to do a better job of playing at a consistently high level from start to finish. We’ll work on it in practice and get better.”
Offensively the Warriors were led by Megan Aultz, who tallied a career-high 11 kills while hitting .333. She has been coming on strong for Midland since conference play began.
Defensively it was Fredrickson and Taliyah Flores leading the way with 14 digs each. Morehouse finished with a team-high five block assists while four other teammates recorded at least two.
Bree Burtwistle (16) and Hope Leimbach (15) combined for 31 set assists while coordinating the Warriors’ attack.
“Any time you can get a GPAC win and win over a Hastings team is a good night because they have a lot of tradition and are always a good volleyball team,” concluded Coach Giesselmann.
Midland (13-3, 5-0 GPAC) will look to continue their winning ways this weekend as they host (RV) Morningside (10-5, 2-4 GPAC). The Warriors and Mustang will take to the court inside Wikert Event Center on Saturday for a 3:00 p.m. start.