FREMONT, Neb. – In a battle of Great Plains Athletic Conference foes, Midland University came out firing on all cylinders to earn a straight-set sweep over Morningside College on Friday night. The Warriors captured the match by scores of 25-12, 25-18, and 25-19 in front of a supportive home crowd on the night of the team’s annual Cancer Awareness match.
Midland improves to 5-6 on the year with a 4-5 GPAC record while Morningside falls to 7-7 overall and 6-5 in the league.
Midland hit an impressive .330 for the match and held a talented Morningside squad to a .050 hitting percentage. The Warriors managed to out dig the Mustangs by a 47-36 mark. Midland was tough from the service line and notched five assists while consistently keeping Morningside out of system.
Senior Maggie Hiatt highlighted the offensive front with 15 kills on 39 attacks. Freshman Lauryn Samuelson was efficient as ever with 10 kills on 15 attacks (.667). Junior Taliyah Flores was efficient in her own right with nine kills on 17 attempts (.471) while chipping in a team-best 19 digs. Sophomore Hope Leimbach coordinated the attack and dished out 41 assists while continually getting her attackers in a favorable position. Senior Jaisa Russell was steady in the backcourt with 12 digs on the night.
Midland came out fast in the opening set and managed to go up 10-5 off a Hiatt kill. Morningside battled back to narrow the deficit, pushing the score to 14-10. The Warriors sensed their opposition’s pursuit and pushed for a five-point run to go up 19-10. The run featured a pair of perfectly-placed aces from Flores. Midland continued to rack up the points and ran away with a 25-12 set victory. Midland hit .355 in the set while Morningside struggled to get going with a -.125 hitting percentage.
The second set began with a 3-0 run for the Warriors, but the Mustangs charged back and took an eventual 8-7 lead. A kill from Flores knotted the score back at 8-8, and senior Sydney Morehouse found the floor for a kill to put Midland up 9-8. Morningside kept the score close throughout much of the set and again managed to tie things up at 18-18. Freshman Samantha Christiansen found herself at the service line and rattled off seven-straight points as Midland ran away with a 25-18 win.
Midland’s offense continued to click as the team went up 10-3 in the third set. Morningside attempted to counter, but the backcourt for Midland held them in check as the Warriors saw a 19-11 lead. The Warriors looked to have the match in their hands, but a run by the Mustangs forced a Warrior timeout with the score at 22-18. The timeout worked to slow the Morningside roll, and Midland earned the 25-19 third set win.
“I was really happy with the way we came out in game one and set the tempo for the match,” commented Head Coach Paul Giesselmann. “I thought our offensive efficiency was pretty good, and our back row defense was really good.”
Midland (5-6, 4-5 GPAC) remains home for a Saturday matchup with GPAC opponent Briar Cliff University. First serve is slated for 5:00 p.m. The match with serve as Senior Night as the team will honor the 2020-21 senior class of Kaitlynn Simon, Jaisa Russell, Heather Bills, Megan Aultz, Sydney Morehouse, and Maggie Hiatt.