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Midland clinches third Final Four berth

Midland clinches third Final Four berth

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Midland emerged victorious in a clash of conference foes in the NAIA National tournament quarterfinals Thursday night, dispatching Northwestern 3-1 (25-18, 15-25, 25-20, 25-17) to reach the program's third semifinals appearance.

“I’m so proud of our team," said Midland coach Paul Giesselmann. "On October 7, we were 2-5 and we were driving a bus with flat tires. The kids kept believing and hung in there. 204 days later, we’re moving on to the final four.”

Maggie Hiatt put together a career-day to help the Warriors advance, putting down 19 kills while hitting .439.

Taliyah Flores added 15 kills while also pulling out 18 digs. 

Jaisa Russell led the team with 19 digs while Brooke Fredrickson had 13 digs along with a career-high six blocks.

Hope Leimbach dished out 51 assists and nine digs.

Midland opened up a 6-0 lead to start the first set of the night 

The No. 5 ranked Raiders responded by clawing back to a 7-7 tie. 

Northwestern never led in the set as the Warriors put away the set with a pair of kills from Lauryn Samuelson and a solo block from the freshman to seal the set. 

Midland found themselves behind early in the second set, 7-3, and never recovered, dropping a lopsided 25-15 set. 

The penultimate set saw things even out with Midland pulling away 17-14. 

Northwestern made a late rally to pull within a point, 21-20. The Warriors ended the set on a 4-0 run to take a 2-1 lead in the match. 

The Warriors set the tone early in the final set, staking out a 3-0 lead. The Raiders responded by outscoring Midland 13-7 to reverse the early lead, 13-10. 

A 4-0 run pushed Midland back in front, 14-13. 

The Warriors turned to Hiatt to seal the win as the senior put down five kills in the final six points of the match, with the game-winning point coming on a Northwestern error.

Midland will have another familiar opponent in the semifinals, taking on No. 1 Jamestown. 

The Warriors lost both meetings with the Jimmies this season 3-1 with the latest coming in the GPAC conference tournament. 

On the other side of the bracket, Dordt is set to take on No. 6 Missouri Baptist at 7:30 p.m., giving the GPAC a chance to have an all conference national championship game. 


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