WATERTOWN, Wis. -- After a season filled with peaks and valleys, the Sabercats Women's Volleyball Team made a gritty run at the NCCAA DII national championship last year. After knocking off the likes of Geneva and Emmaus at the tournament, the Sabercats faced the Bob Jones University Bruins in the title match but were denied the national crown in straight sets.
On the other side of the net, the BJU Bruins capped off a 36-5 season and their first national title. For Maranatha, it would've been the fourth straight NCCAA DII banner and the second fourpeat in program history. Not only that, but it was the first loss at NCCAA nationals since 2014 for the Sabercats.
Those are just the facts.
And the facts are all the Sabercats care about.
The facts are all they really need to know for motivation in the 2019 season.
With only two student-athletes from last year's varsity roster missing, it's essentially the same squad that played last year. And with the addition of a few talented freshmen, the 2019 season is one to keep a close eye on.
- The team holds an NCCAA record of 51-3 over the last three seasons.
- The Sabercats have six seniors this season - about half the varsity roster.
- Maranatha returns all but two student-athletes from last year's team.
- NCCAA Regionals will be held at Maranatha, November 7-9.
HOW TO FOLLOW
- mbusabercats.com/schedule - visit for gameday information including directions, live statistics, and live video.
- mbusabercats.com/live - visit to watch home matches live.
- Twitter (@MBUSabercats) - visit to join gameday and season-long conversation about Maranatha Athletics.
- Facebook (/MBUSabercats) - visit for photo galleries, live video, and regular updates.
- Instagram (@mbusabercats)
- 9/17 vs Mount Mary
- 10/12 vs Emmaus (Parents' Day)
- 10/15 vs Silver Lake
- 10/22 vs Rockford
- 11/7-9 NCCAA North Region Tournament
Each of the seven student-athletes that played the national championship match will be back for redemption this year. That's a luxury that few teams enjoy on the college sports scene, and Coach Regina DeLozier will be looking to take full advantage of the opportunity.
And as far as the facts go, DeLozier needs no reminders either.
DeLozier and the Sabercats will return the following seven student-athletes and an enticing assortment of reserve returners and fresh faces:
Allyson Brimer (Senior) - Brimer may have been unsung at times but was a heroine nonetheless in the 2018 season. The senior was a mainstay in the starting lineup and amassed 118 kills, 48 digs, and a team-best 74 blocks.
Gabrielle Carpenter (Senior) - Carpenter came in clutch at last year's NCCAA DII National Championships, averaging 10 kills over three crucial matches as the Sabercats made their run at the national title. Carpenter registered 245 kills, 94 digs, and 72 blocks.
Claire Hansel (Junior) - Hansel earned NCCAA 1st Team All-America honors while being selected to the AD3I 1st Team All-Independents. Hansel led Maranatha with 412 kills and added 408 digs, 42 blocks, and 34 aces for good measure.
Mckenzie Janke (Senior) - Janke stepped into the big shoes of "Maranatha Libero" last year by earning NCCAA North Region Libero of the Year and AD3I Libero of the Year. Janke completed her junior year with 694 digs and 5.18 digs per set - a mark good enough for fourth in the entire NCCAA DII.
Karley Johnson (Senior) - Karley kept the Johnson family standard high with a phenomenal junior season. Besides earning AD3I 1st Team honors, she compiled 268 kills, 637 assists, 336 digs, and 33 blocks. Versatile? Crucial? Consistent? All of the above.
Kelsey Johnson (Senior) - Kelsey grabbed the AD3I Player of the Year honor while earning her first nod as an NCCAA 1st Team All-American. Johnson racked up 329 kills, 657 assists, 441 digs, and 11 triple-doubles. Yes, that was all in the same season.
Jessica Ureke (Senior) - Ureke is the final senior in the six-senior roster. Ureke had 134 kills, a team-best 81 aces, and 422 digs. The Minnesota native continued her upward trend during her junior season and will look to end her Maranatha tenure on the highest note.
The Sabercats' bid for a fourth NCCAA DII national championship in the last five years begins Friday, September 6 with a visit to NCCAA North Region opponents, Faith Baptist. Visit mbusabercats.com/schedule for gameday information.