Midland University - Fremont, Ne

No.6 Midland University Volleyball Ends Historic Season in the Quarterfinals of the NAIA National Tournament

No.6 Midland University Volleyball Ends Historic Season in the Quarterfinals of the NAIA National Tournament

Dec 10th , 2013

Sioux City, Iowa- No. 6 Midland University found themselves pitted against No. 1 University of Texas at Brownsville in the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Volleyball Tournament. The Warriors gave the top-seeded Ocelots all they had before falling in four sets.

"I'm so proud of what this team has accomplished this year," said Paul Giesselmann head volleyball coach. "I don't like losing in any fashion, but what tremendous team effort by our girls this year. Brownsville has an incredible program and there's a reason they are the best in the nation. We're really going to miss our seniors next year. Becca (Gradoville) was really a true leader on and off the court. Krista (Hermsmeyer) what a class act, you can't say enough good things about her. Makenzie (Scheef) an absolutely tremendous volleyball player. She had an all-American type of season."

The Warriors held their own against an Ocelot team that had only lost five sets all season. KC Heimann, only a freshman, stepped up for the Midland offense in set one. A kill on the outside block from Heimann cut the Warrior deficit to one, 6-5, against Brownsville. Midland had a rash of errors serving and attacking that the Ocelots took advantage of, jumping out to a 17-11 lead. The Warriors fought to get back into the set, cutting into the Brownsville lead off a huge block from the front row by Makenzie Scheef to make it 20-17. The service errors by Midland earlier in the set had finally caught up to them and the Ocelot lead was too much to surmount. The Warriors dropped set one, 25-20.

At the start of set two, errors looked like they may haunt the Warriors again, but Midland quickly rebounded and back-to-back kills from Heimann put the score at 6-5, with the Warriors up on Brownsville. The Ocelots showed why they were the best in the nation and rallied to score seven unanswered points to regain the lead, 12-8. A kill down the back left side of the court by Wheeler and a service ace from Becca Gradoville gave the Midland hope of a rally, but again an overpowering Brownsville offense stopped the run and pushed their lead to six, 18-12. Errors plagued the Warriors throughout the rest of the match and the Ocelots would take set two, 25-14, and go up 2-0 in the match.

The Warriors faced adversity in a win, or go home set three. Midland kept it within two points for the beginning of the match and then back-to-back errors by Brownsville, tied the game at 9-9. The Warriors would hold their own on the court and a center block kill from Pribyl gave Midland their first lead of the set, 12-11. The Warriors would fire off six straight points on Brownsville capped off by back-to-back service aces from Jordan Bymers to go up 18-12, their largest lead of the set and the match. An attacking error from the Ocelots and a dominant kill from Scheef made it a 20-12 game. A kill by Wheeler on the outside made it a 22-14 lead and Midland was on the verge of being the first team to take a set against Brownsville in the tournament. The Ocelots rallied to score seven straight points and make it a 24-22, Midland lead. A nearly perfect Brownsville team hit a costly service error and the Warriors took the set, 25-22. Midland handed the Ocelots their first set loss in 11 matches.

Momentum on their side, the Warriors came out to play in set four. Midland would jump out to an early 3-0 lead over Brownsville, but the Ocelots came out with determination and quickly turned it around to take the lead, 7-4. Wheeler would end the Brownsville run on the solo block on the slide to make it a 9-5 ball game. The Ocelots then went on a devastating rally going up 14-6 on the Warriors midway through the set. A Midland team that has persevered all tournament when on the cusp of defeat, was unable to stop the Brownsville run dropping the set, 25-11 and the match, 3-1.

Ashlee Harms led the way for Midland against the Ocelots, landing 11 kills in the loss. Ashley Wheeler hit down nine kills and Mackenzie Scheef banked seven kills. Megan Farley had 34 assists on the night. Molly Pettit led the digs category with 20 and behind her was Becca Gradoville who dug the ball out 13 times.
The historic season the Warrior volleyball team produced had come to an end in the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Tournament. Midland went a program best, 37-5 on the year and is the only team in program history to make it to the quarterfinals in the National Tournament.