FREMONT, Neb. – No. 8 Midland University gave No. 2 Northwestern College all they could handle on Saturday afternoon but ultimately came up a few points short the upset, falling in five sets (25-15, 20-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-9). The Red Raiders remain undefeated on the year, improving to 22-0, 10-0 in Great Plains Athletic Conference play while the Warriors fall to 14-8, and 5-5 in the GPAC.
Midland started off slowly, dropping the opening set 25-15 to the Red Raiders. The Warriors were held to a -.020 hitting percentage as they had 8 attack errors with just 7 kills. On the other side of the net, Northwestern floored 15 kills while committing 3 errors for a .279 hitting mark.
The second set was Midland’s best of the match as they were low-error, hitting .310. They had 16 kills with just 3 errors. The Red Raiders had 14 kills and 7 errors, hitting their lowest of the match, .152. Midland took the set by five points thanks to a 4-0 run to end it. Two of the points came off of kills by Shelby Bretschneider.
Coming out of the locker rooms with the match tied 1-1, Northwestern looked to be the more focused team and it resulted in a seven point win. They were nearly perfect in their attack as they had 12 kills on 38 attacks with no errors (.316 percent). Midland had their most attack errors of any set with 11.
The Red Raiders’ momentum once again couldn’t carry over in another set as the Warriors led virtually all the way in the fourth, winning by two to send it to a fifth set. Midland’s 17 kills in the set were a match high for them.
In the fifth things began to unravel for the Warriors as they couldn’t maintain the momentum of tying the match. The Warriors committed five attacking errors and had multiple others at the service line and defensively as Northwestern cruised to 15-9 win to take the match.
“There was some great volleyball played today and I was really pleased with our team’s effort,” stated head coach Paul Giesselmann after the match. “I thought our team, especially our young players, learned how to play against a final four-type team. I was really happy with some of the progress we’ve made. Unfortunately, we’re making too many unforced errors and the fifth game was a great example of that. We scored 9 of their 15 points and against a great team like Northwestern, you just really have to play low error.”
Leading the way offensively was Bretschneider who finished with a team-high 17 kills while hitting a team-high .293. Sydney Morehouse and Brooke Fredrickson joined her in double figure kills with 10 and 11 respectively.
Burtwistle and Leimbach were active in the defense as well as each registered double figures in digs. Burtwistle had 12 and Leimbach had 14. Three others had double-digit digs as well. Brooke Fredrickson had 10, Jaisa Russell had 16, and Taliyah Flores led the way with 28 from her libero position.
At the net the Warriors defense came away with eight total blocks. Bretschneider and Maggie Hiatt were the leaders with four each.
“I thought Shelby Bretschneider played a great match today,” added Coach Giesselmann. “She was really aggressive in hitting smart shots. So I was really pleased to see that. We’ve got some time off now before our next match. We’ve just got to get rested up and get back in the gym and keep getting better. When this team plays consistently at a high level, they are really good. We’ve continue to work there and get us in position for the end of the season.”
Midland (14-8, 5-5 GPAC) will be back in action next weekend as they travel to Mount Marty (7-19, 0-10 GPAC) and Briar Cliff (13-13, 3-9 GPAC). The Warriors and Lancers will square up at 7:30 p.m. in Yankton, South Dakota on Friday. The next day the Warriors and Chargers will face each other at 5:00 p.m. in Sioux City, Iowa.