JAMESTOWN, N.D. – The Midland University volleyball team performed at a high-level on Saturday night, but narrowly fell to an undefeated Jamestown University in Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) competition. Senior libero Jaisa Russell surpassed the 1,000 digs mark for her Warrior career after a season-best 21 digs.
Jamestown captured the 3-1 win by scores of 23-25, 31-29, 27-25, and 26-24. Midland falls to 4-6 on the year and 3-4 in the GPAC while Jamestown improves to 9-0 and 7-0 in the league. The Jimmies hit .222 on the night compared to .205 for the Warriors. Both teams were stellar on defense as UJ narrowly out-dug MU 95-93.
Five Midland attackers reached double-figure kills with Taliyah Flores and Sydney Morehouse leading the charge with 15 each. Brooke Fredrickson and Maggie Hiatt each chipped in 14. Flores and Fredrickson registered a double-double with 18 digs and 14 digs, respectively. Russell’s 21 digs led the team. Hope Leimbach was steady as ever from the setter position as she racked up a career-high 63 assists to go along with 19 digs.
Midland took their first lead of the evening at 5-4 after a smart shot from Morehouse found the hardwood. The teams would exchange points, but the Midland lead continued to stand as a kill from Lauryn Samuelson ended a lengthy rally as gave Midland the 12-10 edge. The Jimmies pushed back to tie the score at 12-12 after defensive dandies allowed for a kill out of the middle. A hitting error by Jamestown capped off a four-point run and forced a UJ timeout as Midland went up 16-12.
The timeout wouldn’t deter the Warriors as a Fredrickson ace got things rolling again. Jamestown forced a Midland timeout moments later as they cut the Midland lead to 17-16. Jamestown regained the lead after back-to-back points saw the score climb to 20-18 in favor of the home team. The score would become knotted yet again after Fredrickson earned a kill off the block to bring the score to 22-22. A clutch block by Samuelson and Fredrickson prompted a UJ timeout as Midland went up 23-22. A solo block from Samuelson gave the Warriors set point, and a hitting error for Jamestown gave the Warriors the opening set by a score of 25-23.
The Warriors continued to display solid defense as a sprawling dig by Fredrickson resulted in a kill by Flores to bring the lead to 5-3 in the second set. The Jimmies came to play defensively as well as back-to-back blocks tied the score at 7-7. Leimbach would split a pair of defenders for an ace and an 11-9 lead. The UJ offense began clicking as the team enjoyed a run to go up 15-12 and force a Midland timeout. The Warriors got the ball back out of the timeout as Fredrickson found space down the line for a kill. An attack out of the back row clipped the line to give UJ a 20-17 lead and force another Midland timeout.
Midland wouldn’t go down without a fight as a 4-1 scoring run brought the score to 21-21. The score knotted up again at 23-23 after a smart shot from Fredrickson found the floor. Fredrickson continued to be impressive in the second set as a cross-court kill tie to score at 25-25. Each Jamestown point was matched by the Warriors as the score tied yet again at 27-27. Midland would finally find the advantage after a huge solo block from Hiatt pushed the score to 28-27 and forced a UJ timeout. Jamestown scored a pair of points to reclaim the lead, but an effective shot from Hiatt tied the score again. Jamestown managed to use the block to their advantage and claimed the set by a score of 31-29. There were 14 ties in the second set.
Midland went up 3-0 in the third set after a solo block from Hiatt ended a lengthy rally between the two teams. Flores took advantage of a misfired set from the Jimmies as she tapped the overpass down for a kill and a 6-3 lead. The Warrior defense came to play as a huge dig from Mackenzie Sempeck extended the rally which resulted in the Flores kill and a commanding 9-3 lead. The score to climbed to 12-6 after a Hiatt kill cleaned up a scrappy point by both teams. A savvy shot by the opposing setter halted a Midland run as the score sat at 15-8. Leimbach came up with a dig that resulted in a smart shot down the line from Flores to bring Midland’s lead to 18-10. Jamestown responded to the pressure of the set coming to a close and narrowed the lead to 20-15.
UJ stepped up their game down the stretch as a scoring run narrowed Midland’s lead to 23-21 and led to an MU timeout. A net violation on Midland tied the set at 23-23. The third set began to mirror the second set as the teams found themselves tied again at 24-24. Flores found a deep pocket of the court to tie the set at 25-25. Jamestown capped off a miraculous third set comeback with an off-speed shot down the line to capture the third set by a score of 27-25.
The Warriors would go up 3-1 in the fourth set after an attack from Fredrickson found space in the block for a kill. Jamestown strung together several points to take a 7-6 lead. The lead would be short-lived as kills from Hiatt gave MU an 8-7 advantage. Everything was dropping in favor of the Jimmies as a roll shot to the deep corner saw UJ leading 13-9. Jaw-dropping defensive saves on both sides of the net were enough to get the fans on their feet, but unforced errors by the Warriors allowed Jamestown to extend the lead to 16-10. Morehouse snapped a kill in front of the ten-foot line to narrow the deficit to 16-12.
MU continued to chip away at the lead as a Fredrickson ace brought the score to 17-15. The Warriors continued to knock on the door as a Morehouse kills pulled them within one at 19-18. A setting error on the Jimmies had Midland trailing 22-21. Jamestown worked their way to set point, but a pair of Midland points caused UJ to take a timeout. The short break would do nothing to halt MU’s momentum as the Warriors managed to tie things up at 24-24. Midland was unable to push for more points as an error gave Jamestown the 26-24 set win.
“We are disappointed that we didn’t come away with the win but I was very proud of how the team competed,” said Midland head coach Paul Giesselmann after the match. “We got better today against one of the top teams in the NAIA. We didn’t have a few plays go our way but we’ll strive to get better this week in practice with two important home matches at the end of the week.”
Midland (4-6, 3-5 GPAC) will host a pair of conference matches this week with the first on Friday, October 23 against Morningside (7-6, 6-4 GPAC) and then Saturday, October 24 against Briar Cliff. First serve is slated for 7:30 p.m. against the Mustangs on Friday night with that match serving as Midland’s Annual Cancer Awareness Night.