OMAHA, Neb. – After dropping the first two sets, Midland University battled back to send the match to a fifth set but ultimately came up just short losing to College of Saint Mary (25-21, 25-23, 20-25, 16-25, 15-13). The loss by the Warriors snaps a 15 match winning streak over the Flames, dating back to September of 2008.
On paper the Warriors topped the Flames in nearly every statistical category on the night. For the match they outhit them .115 to .097, held a 23 to 7 block advantage, and had six fewer attacking errors. However CSM outhit them .200 to .121, .156 to .024, and .115 to .000 in the sets they won.
During the first set CSM let the entire way. The Warriors tied the score three times but never could overcome a 3-0 deficit to start the opening set.
In the second, Midland dropped the first two points but rallied back to take the lead and led the way up until a 23-23 tie. That’s when CSM overtook them, scoring the final two points to take a commanding lead to the locker room.
After the extended set break the Warriors looked more focused and had more energy. They responded with a 3-0 run to start the third but CSM once again rallied back, taking the lead 8-7. Midland would battle back to regain the lead and then held on late to win by five.
The fourth game was dominated by Midland. Not only did they outhit the Flames .216 to -.033, they had a big run of 5-0 early to make it 7-2 and then build saw that lead grow on the way to a 25-16 win. The run came via thee attack error by the Flames joined by a Shelby Bretschneider kill and an ace by Taliyah Flores.
With the momentum on their side it looked like Midland would complete the comeback. They started the fifth and final set with a 3-0 run and had an 8-7 lead at the side switch. That’s when things began to unravel.
Over the final half of the game, Midland had five attacking errors, four of which were unforced. The final two points of the match for the Flames both came on unforced errors by the Warriors.
“This is a very disappointing loss for our program and the part that’s frustrating is, as a coach I’ve not done a good job of figuring out how to get this group ready to play,” commented head coach Paul Giesselmann after the match. “We have started off slow many times and it comes back to bite us. Tonight we weren’t ready to play the first two games and CSM, to their credit, were ready to play. They played at a high level and they got up 2-0 on us before we really kicked it in and started to play on our side of the net.”
“I like what we did in games three and four. We juggled the lineup and I thought we reduced our errors and started putting pressure on them. We got off to a good start in game five but we made too many unforced, bad errors in the fifth game and that was the difference. It wasn’t a matter of CSM beat us in the game. We just made unforced errors and you just can’t do that in this conference because every team in this conference is good.”
On the attack Morehouse added 10 kills while Brooke Fredrickson had a team-high 12 kills. Morehouse’s .231 attack percentage also led the team.
Bree Burtwistle led the team with 25 set assists while Hope Leimbach had 19. Burtwistle also had 12 digs for her first double-double of the season. Fredrickson and Flores also registered double-digit digs with 15 and 13.
Midland (14-7, 6-4 GPAC) will be back in action on Saturday, October 19 as they host Northwestern (21-0, 9-0 GPAC). First serve between the Warriors and Red Raiders is set for 3:30 p.m. inside Wikert Event Center in Fremont, Nebraska.