JAMESTOWN, N.D. – No. 12 Midland University volleyball faced a tall task on Wednesday night, taking on No. 1-ranked Jamestown University in the Great Plains Athletic Conference Semifinal match. The match featured back-and-forth action and long rallies expected out of two top-tier programs, but the Warriors were unable to pull off the upset, falling 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-21, 25-19).
Midland’s record moves to 11-9 overall while Jamestown improves to 25-1 overall. The Jimmies will advance to face Northwestern College in the GPAC Championship match on Saturday, April 10. Northwestern was the lone team to knock off Jamestown in the regular season as the Red Raiders claimed a 3-1 win.
Midland hit .113 for the match compared to .150 for Jamestown. The Jimmies posted 77 digs versus 70 for Midland and held a slight 11-10 edge in total blocks. Senior Maggie Hiatt led all players with 16 kills and was followed by junior Taliyah Flores who registered 12. Sophomore Hope Leimbach dished out 46 assists to go along with seven digs. Senior Jaisa Russell had 20 digs and was followed by junior Brook Fredrickson’s 19 dig performance. Freshman Lauryn Samuelson was stout at the net, putting away a match-high eight blocks.
Flores ended an early rally with a kill to the deep corner, narrowing Jamestown’s lead to 4-3. The Warriors tied things up 4-4, but a four-point run saw Jamestown up 8-4 to force an MU timeout. The Warriors enjoyed a run of their own, highlighted by a block from Hiatt and Samuelson to pull within one at 9-8. Midland continued to keep things close as the third block of the set brought the score to 14-13, but another scoring run for the Jimmies saw the score at 17-13. A kill from Morehouse pulled Midland within three at 19-16, but a service error gave Jamestown the four-point edge. The lead was insurmountable as the Warriors dropped the opening set by a score of 25-19.
The early portion of the second set followed a similar trend as the score tied up at 2-2 off a savvy kill from Leimbach found space in the back corner. Jamestown started to find some separation, going up 9-4 off a Midland misfire. Midland worked out a timeout, bringing the score to 9-7 off a Jamestown blocking error. Midland saw its first lead of the evening after a back-row attack from Flores found the floor for a 13-12 advantage. The lead grew to 16-13 off a double contact called against the Jimmies. The Warriors went up 22-17 after Morehouse went back-to-back with a crafty kill and huge solo block, forcing a Jamestown timeout. A kill from Hiatt brought the Warriors to set point, and a block from Samuelson sealed the deal on a 25-19 win.
Leimbach ended a monster rally with a kill to the deep corner, giving Midland an early 3-2 lead. The Jimmies picked up a block to tie the score at 7-7, but Brooke Fredrickson responded with a deep kill for the advantage. The score moved to 12-10 off a cross-court shot from Flores ricocheted off the defender. Jamestown worked to tie the score at 13-13 and grabbed its first lead of the set off a deep kill from the setter. The lead didn’t last long as a three-point run, capped off by a Hiatt/Samuelson block had Midland up 16-14. No lead was safe in the set as the Jimmies went on a run to capture a 19-16 lead. Midland worked back into the set, trailing 20-19 after a kill from Fredrickson split the block. Jamestown remained strong down the stretch en route to a 25-21 win.
Jamestown got up 4-1 in the fourth set, but Midland fought back to trail 6-5. The no-quit pursuit paid off as the Warriors took a 10-8 lead after a solo block from Hiatt. Jamestown came back to reclaim the lead, but a Flores kill kept the score close at 14-13. The Jimmies stretched the lead to 16-13, but three-straight points for Midland knotted things at 16-16. Jamestown went up 21-19 after another lengthy rally ended with a roll shot just over the block. The Jimmies earned an ace to reach match point, and a kill sealed the deal with a 25-19 win.
“We played a really good Jamestown team tonight and they showed why they’re them number one team in the country,” commented head coach Paul Giesselmann. “We had opportunities in each set but had too many unforced errors and a quality team like that won’t let you get away with things like that. I’ve loved the way we’ve been playing and competing the last month heading into Nationals.”
Midland (11-9) will now wait to learn its seeding for the NAIA National Tournament. The NAIA selection show will air at 10:00 a.m. CST on Monday, April 12. The opening round will kick off on Saturday, April 17 at each of the selected host institutions.