Game Time…No.5 Northwestern will play GPAC-rival and No.12 Midland in the NAIA Volleyball Championship Quarterfinals Thursday night, April 29, at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City.
First serve is set for 7:30pm on Court Two. At stake for both teams is a berth into the national semifinals which will be held the next evening, on Friday night, April 30.
No.5 Northwestern (22-4) vs No.12 Midland (14-9)
The Rivalry…Northwestern owns a 50-18-1 advantage in the rivalry, dating all the way back to the 1981 season. The Raiders have won seven of its last 10 against Midland, including a five-set victory played last fall in conference play at the Bultman Center on Oct. 31. The teams have played once at the national tournament, in 2013 in the elimination round prior to the quarterfinals where Midland defeated Northwestern 3-1.
Last Five Matches vs Midland:
2020: Northwestern wins 3-2 (H)
2019: Northwestern wins 3-2 (A)
2018: Northwestern wins 3-0 (H)
2017: Northwestern wins 3-2 (A)
2016: Northwestern lost 3-1
The Road to the Quarterfinals…Northwestern received one of the 36 auto bids by way of the GPAC Tournament runner-up finish and defeated Trinity Christian (3-0) in the opening round to earn a spot to the final site. As the top seed in pool E, Northwestern rallied from being down 2-1 to defeat #21 Oklahoma City in five sets on Tuesday in the first pool play match. The Raiders then swept No.13 Corban on Wednesday to earn a spot into the quarterfinals.
Midland received one of the 12 at-large bids into the 2021 championship and swept Mayville State in an opening round match to advance to the final site. The No.2 seed in pool D, the Warriors have not dropped a set at the Tyson Events Center, sweeping both Rocky Mountain and No.4 Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday (25-19, 25-17, 25-18).
NAIA Postseason History…Northwestern is making its fourth straight and 16th overall appearance at the NAIA Volleyball Championship, third most among this year’s field (Georgetown – 21, Madonna – 19). They are now 34-31 all-time at the championship and this will be their second straight and sixth overall time in the quarterfinals. Kyle Van Den Bosch has taken 11 Raider teams to the national tournament in his 16 years as head coach and has been to the quarterfinals five times.
Midland has qualified for the NAIA Championship seven times, all since the 2013 season and all under current head coach Paul Giesselmann. The Warriors have compiled a 21-11 record at the championship and have now advanced out of pool play in six of their seven appearances. Midland’s best finish was in both 2016 and 2018 where they reached the semifinals.
#12 Midland Warriors
Overall Record: 14-9
GPAC Record: 9-7 (5th)
Head Coach: Paul Giesselmann (11th year)
-2x coach CCAC coach of year
Qualified by: at-large
NAIA Championship Appearances: 7
Consecutive NAIA Appearances: 1
Record at NAIA Championship: 21-11
Best Finish: semifinals in 2016, 2018
Team Stats (NAIA rank-if top 10)
Hitting % – .216
Kills / Set – 14 (6th)
Aces / Set – 1.5
Blocks / Set – 1.8
Kills / Set:
Taliyah Flores (2x all-conf): 3.7
Maggie Hiatt (2x all-conf): 3.2
Sydney Morehouse: .247 (2x all-conf)
Taliyah Flores: .238
Assists / Set:
Hope Leimbach: 12.1 (1st) (all-conf)
Kaitlynn Simon: 28
Brooke Fredrickson: 28
Lauryn Samuelson: 66
Sydney Morehouse: 61
Digs / Set:
Jaisa Russel: 4.3 (all-conf)
#5 Northwestern Red Raiders
Overall Record: 22-4
GPAC Record: 13-3 (2nd)
Head Coach: Kyle Van Den Bosch (16th year)
Qualified by: Auto (GPAC Tment Runner-Up)
NAIA Championship Appearances: 16
Consecutive NAIA Appearances: 4th
Record at NAIA Championship: 34-31
Best Finish: Quarterfinals (5x)
Team Stats (NAIA-if top 10)
Hitting % – .277 (3rd)
Kills / Set – 13.2
Aces / Set – 1.3
Blocks / Set – 2.3
Assists / Set:
Lacey Reitz: 11.2 (2x All-American, 4x all-conf, 2x GPAC Setter of Year)