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VB: No. 1 Warriors Win Top-Ten Battle at No. 7 Northwestern in Four Sets

Courtesy of Midland Athletics 

ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Coming off a tough road match on Wednesday night, No. 1-ranked Midland University was in Orange City, Iowa on Saturday as they took on No. 7-ranked Northwestern College. The Warriors and Raiders played high-level Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) volleyball on the court inside the Bultman Center, with MU winning in four sets (25-23, 25-20, 22-25, 25-23). The win improves the Warriors’ season record to 15-2 overall and 5-1 in the GPAC). The Raiders fall to 11-4 and 3-3 in conference play.

“I was really proud of our team today. It was a gutsy win to take down the seventh-ranked team on their home court,” said head coach Paul Giesselmann. “The last two points of the match showed incredible discipline and toughness by both teams. The fans definitely got their money’s worth tonight. Taliyah [Flores] just refused to lose on the last point.”

Both offenses were aggressive and found holes in the defense in the first set. Northwestern hit .314 with 13 kills while Midland hit .343 with 16. The tightly contested set saw 12 ties and 6 lead changes. The Warriors held a four-point lead at 17-13 only to see it dwindle down as the Raiders tied the set at 22-22. A kill by Abbey Ringler put MU up and then Taliyah Flores sealed with a kill for the 25-23 win.

Set number two saw the attacking numbers dip as the defenses adjusted during the set break. Midland hit .143 while Northwestern’s percentage dropped to .029.

The two national powers traded points in set number two again with the Warriors taking an early 12-8 lead, forcing a timeout from the home team. The Raiders responded out of the huddle with a 7-3 run to even the score at 15-15.

Lauren Williams had a big kill off the set of Hope Leimbach, giving Midland the edge, and two attack errors by Northwestern pushed the lead to three. The second error was into the block of Ringler and Addisyn Mosier. Flores with register four kills over the final six points for MU to give them the game, 25-20.

Leading 2-0 in the match, Midland jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the third before Northwestern clawed their way back into it. The Raiders went on a 6-2 run to knot the score at 14-14. After three more ties, the final came at 19-19. Northwestern used a 5-0 run to take control and held on for the 25-22 win.

The Raiders’ offense had their best numbers of the match, hitting .333 with 16 kills. Midland had just 10 kills that were offset by 6 errors.

In the fourth set, Midland opened up an 8-2 lead prompting a timeout from the Northwestern bench. The Raiders regrouped and worked the score back even at 11-11 thanks in part to a five- and three-point run.

Midland would use a 6-0 run to take control of the set but the pesky Raiders managed to make it close at 24-23. On the final point, the veteran Flores had a pair of big attacks. The second found the floor and gave the Warriors the 25-23 win and the match victory.

For the night, Flores led the way with 16 kills on 62 attempts. She added 17 digs defensively, both were team-highs.

Ringler was next highest on the kills list with nine while Mosier had eight.

Defensively, three players joined Flores in double-digits in digs. Leimbach had 15, to go with her 42 set assists, while Delanie Vallinch and Kailyn Scott each had 12.

Midland hit .164 for the match with 9 blocks and 8 service aces. Leimbach and Saige Craven each had a pair of ace serves in the match.

Next up for the Warriors (15-2, 5-1 GPAC) will be back-to-back home matches next weekend. They’ll host Morningside (6-13, 2-4 GPAC) on September 30 and then Briar Cliff (5-8, 0-4 GPAC) on October 1. First serve with the Mustangs on Friday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. inside the Wikert Event Center.

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