SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Paul Giesselmann’s 200th win at Midland University came at a great time.
The Lady Warriors defeated Marian (Indiana) 25-14, 25-22, 25-20 in the NAIA Volleyball National Championship Tournament on Tuesday afternoon at the Tyson Event Center.
“To be honest, I had no idea about it,” Giesselmann said about the milestone. “After the match, someone told me to turn around and look in the stands. There were some signs with ‘200’ on them. I asked my assistants what the signs were for.”
The victory opened pool play for the Lady Warriors, who are playing in their fifth straight national tournament. The milestone came in only Giesselmann’s eighth season in Fremont.
“It is a great win for the fans and the program,” Giesselmann said. “But more than anything it means that we’ve had a lot of really good young women come through our program in the time that I’ve been at Midland.”
Some of those young women were on the court against Marian.
Midland jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first set before a Kacee Salyers kill cut into the deficit. The Lady Warriors, though, stretched the lead to 12-4 and went on to close out the set while hitting .371.
The opener was just an indication of what was to come as MU hit .310 in the second second and .304 in the finale to finish at .327 for the match.
“I was really happy with how we played,” Giesselmann said. “Marian has got a very good team. They have some kids that can really play, but I thought this might’ve been the best match we’ve played from a serve receive standpoint. I thought we passed the ball really well and that was a key. It got us in system where Jess (Peters) could do some things with our hitters.”
Peters, a junior setter, finished with 36 set assists. Outside hitter Jenny Bair and middle blocker Priscilla O’Dowd had 11 kills each. Taylor Petersen had nine kills and Shelby Bretschneider contributed eight.
“I thought our hitters did a really good job of making good decisions,” Giesselmann said. “It was a great start to the tournament.”
Senior libero Jessica Nekl had 14 digs and Jaise Russell added 13 digs.
Midland will face Saint Xavier (Illinois) at 4 Wednesday afternoon in another pool match. The Lady Warriors swept the Cougars in late August, but Giesselmann said Saint Xavier has improved.
“They are playing at a high level now,” he said. “They made of couple of changes with ther team and that has made a difference. ... We just need to have the same approach, low errors and we have to serve and pass well.”
The only negative of Tuesday’s match for the Lady Warriors was blocking.
“We’re going to have to block better tomorrow,” Giesselmann said. “We didn’t block well today at all. That is something we’ll focus on.”