SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – No. 11 Midland University volleyball kicked off their 2018 season with a statement win over No. 3-ranked Missouri Baptist on Thursday afternoon at the Evangel Tipoff Classic. The Warriors took the match 25-18, 25-21, 20-25, 31-29.
Midland took control of the match early as they jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead behind the serve of freshman Brooke Fredrickson and a handful of errors by the Spartans. The margin would grow to as many as ten points on a few occasions. The first coming after a kill by senior Jenny Bair to make the score 19-9 and then again at 24-14 on an error by Missouri Baptist. The Spartans would rally closer but Midland too set one but a score of 25-18. The Warriors had a .192 hitting percentage while the Spartans we held even at .000.
Set two was more tightly contested as the two teams battled back and forth. Midland was able string together a few more sustained rallies and actually never trailed in the set. There were five ties in the set. The Warriors took the final two points on kills by senior Priscilla O’Dowd and Fredrickson for the 25-21 win. O’Dowd had five of her team-high 13 kills in the set.
Missouri Baptist would respond with their backs against the wall in the third taking the set 25-20. They had an early run of seven straight points to take the momentum and avoid the sweep. The Spartans hit .241, their best of the day, while holding Midland to .065, their lowest.
In the fourth, Midland used an early run of their own to take 8-5 lead and kept Missouri Baptist at arm’s length most of the match. The Spartans however would not go down without a fight as they came back to tie the set at 21-21. Neither team could close out the other as Midland missed four opportunities to close out the match while the Spartans failed twice to extend it to a fifth set before the Warriors took the set and match, 31-29.
“We played very well in games one and two but I was disappointed with some of our play in the third and fourth,” commented head coach Paul Giesselmann. “We had some situations that we didn’t handle well but that’s why we scheduled these matches. We need to see how we’ll respond when we’re stressed.”
“I really liked our team’s mental toughness in game four after losing Jenny Bair to an injury. This was a great win over a really talented and well coached team today.”
The road doesn’t get much easier for Midland as they’ll play two more games on Friday. They’ll take on No. 4 Viterbo in the morning at 10 a.m. before taking on host-school Evangel at 4:30 p.m.