Midland University opened Great Plains Athletic Conference play Wednesday night by outlasting Doane 24-26, 25-21, 25-13, 13-25, 17-15 in the Wikert Event Center.
The victory kept alive a pair of streaks for the Warriors. They have won their GPAC opener for nine-straight years and have won their league home opener for 10 consecutive seasons.
“There were times tonight where I didn’t think we played as a very smart team, but it was a typical GPAC match where you know every point is going to be hard to come by,” Midland coach Paul Giesselmann said. “As poor as we were offensively, I thought both teams were really good defensively. I really (liked) what our team did both at the net blocking and behind the block.”
Midland struggled in the fourth set hitting -.073 with eight errors and five kills. Doane knotted the match at two sets apiece by recording 10 kills and hitting .156. It was the first set the Tigers had eclipsed .100 hitting all night.
Midland jumped to a 7-5 lead in the fifth set on the strength of kills by Shelby Bretschneider, Maddie Wieseler, Maggie Hiatt and Taylor Petersen. The Tigers, however, didn’t fold.
Three kills by Allison Kuenle helped the Tigers go up 11-8 before Giesselmann called a timeout.
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Doane led 13-11 on a kill by Genna Ryan-Piaseck, but a block by Hiatt, a kill by Petersen and a Doane attacking error put MU up 14-13. Kuenle’s kill staved off one match point. Midland went up 16-15 before Petersen finished the match with a kill off a set from Taliyah Flores.
“The biggest takeaway for me was how our team responded in the fifth game after we went down 11-8,” Giesselmann said.”We showed a ton of fight and a lot of composure. That is what it takes for teams that want to play in December.”
Petersen led MU with 13 kills and six assisted blocks. Middle blocker Sydney Morehouse added 11 kills while North Bend native Brooke Fredrickson had eight kills and two solo blocks. Wieseler hammered seven kills and Hiatt finished with six kills and eight assisted blocks.
Hope Leimbach had 22 digs and 21 set assists while fellow freshman Bree Burtwistle had 16 assists and seven digs. Flores and Jaisa Russell had 20 digs apiece while Fredrickson had 14.
Kuenle had 12 kills to lead Doane. Madison VanHousen finished with 11 and Alexis Dale contributed 10. Jaime Renshaw had 36 set assists.
The win improves Midland to 9-3 overall. The Warriors play at 7:30 Wednesday night against Morningside in Sioux City, Iowa. On Sept. 14, they make the trek to Seward to face Concordia.