Dec. 4—SIOUX CITY, Iowa. — A historic season came to an end for the Dakota Wesleyan volleyball team on Saturday night.
Playing in the program's first NAIA quarterfinal, the Tigers were bested by a familiar foe, as fellow Great Plains Athletic Conference member Midland eliminated DWU in a sweep at the Tyson Events Center. Set scores were 28-26, 25-14 and 25-16.
During the team's lone regular-season meeting on Oct. 7 in Mitchell, the Tigers recovered from a slow start and first-set loss to take a four-set win off the Warriors. In Saturday's rematch, it was sixth-ranked DWU that took early control, but with the Tigers on the cusp of a first-set victory, third-ranked Midland flipped the match on its head and never looked back.
Apart from losing the first point of the match, DWU either had the edge or was tied for the entire first set on the way to a 24-19 lead. But the 25th and final point proved to be elusive, as the Warriors staved off five straight match points as part of a 6-0 run. DWU recovered to earn another set point at 26-25, but Midland reeled off three straight points to claim a 1-0 advantage.
The Warriors carried that form through to the second set, never trailing and building a 19-14 lead before putting an exclamation point on the effort with six consecutive points to go up 2-0.
DWU took five of the first seven points in the third set, but couldn't sustain the pressure. Midland prevented the Tigers from scoring consecutive points again until late in the set, but the Warriors had pulled out to a 21-10 lead that was too much to threaten.
DWU hit .233 as a team in the first set, but that dropped off to .065 and minus-.024 in the second and third, while Midland didn't have a set where it hit worse than .182.
Midland got nine kills apiece from Taliyah Flores, Abbey Ringler and Addisyn Mosier, with Ringler adding seven blocks. Jessie Moss finished with six kills, three service aces and a pair of blocks, as Hope Leimbach chipped in four kills and four blocks to go with 34 assists and 14 digs, both of which were team-highs.
For the Tigers (25-8), Ady Dwight and Mariah Gloe each had eight kills, followed by Mackenzie Miller (five) and Abby Brunsing (four), though all five were held under a hitting percentage of .100 for the match. Emily Dale had four kills and hit .214. Gloe, Miller and Dale each had three blocks, while Dwight and Brunsing had two apiece. Madeline Else put up 30 assists on 32 DWU kills, while Tya Weideman and Hanna Reiff had 13 and 12 digs, respectively.
Midland (28-5) advanced to play in another all-GPAC showdown against No. 2 Jamestown in the national semifinals on Monday.