HASTINGS, Neb. – It was a battle of top 15 teams on Wednesday night as No. 12 Midland University traveled to take on No. 14 Hastings College in the regular season finale for both teams. Early in the year they played a five-setter thriller in Fremont and this time around the stakes were higher with conference tournament seeding on the line.
The Warriors entered the match with a one game lead over the Broncos and a half-game lead over Northwestern, and looked to secure the second seed with a win. Hastings had other plans though as they used the energy from their home crowd to that the match in four sets (25-22, 25-19, 20-25, 25-13).
Hastings and Midland played fairly even when looking at the statistics, but the Broncos energy was the difference in building a 2-0 lead heading into the extended set break. Midland came out of the locker room with more focused, building an early lead that led to a win in set three. In the fourth though, Hastings was dominant hitting .516 on their way to the match victory.
“We were disappointed with our lack of energy and effort during the match,” commented Paul Giesselmann, Midland Volleyball head coach. “We have to do a better job of not making unforced errors and play with a higher level of intensity on defense. Give Hastings credit. They beat us in every facet of the game tonight.”
With the win, the Broncos join Midland and Northwestern in second place in the GPAC with 13-3 records and since the three teams are in different divisions of the GPAC, the tie-breaker for seeding purposes came down to winning percentage in conference sets. Northwestern earned the second seed, going 44-12; Hastings will be the third seed, going 43-19 in conference sets; and Midland will be the fourth seed, having gone 40-20.
On a bright note heading into postseason play, Midland’s 13-3 conference record ties the program’s second best mark in GPAC play. They went 13-3 in both 2013 and 2015.
Up next for Midland (21-5) will be the fifth-seeded Jamestown (21-7) in the first round of the GPAC Postseason Tournament. The Warriors will host the Jimmies on Saturday, November 3. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. inside Wikert Event Center in Fremont, Nebraska. Earlier this season Midland defeated Jamestown in five sets on the road back on September 29th.