WATERTOWN, Wis. -- Tomorrow, everything the Sabercats have been working for will come to a climax in the NCCAA North Region semifinals.
Each of the Sabercats' three competing teams this weekend have earned a place in the NCCAA North Region Semifinal, and some classic rivalries are on the agenda. The soccer tournaments will be held in Ankeny, Iowa, and the women's volleyball tournament will take place in Watertown.
Women's Soccer has been given the #3 seed for the three-team North Region Tournament and will face #2 Providence University College tomorrow morning at 9:45 a.m.
The two teams have faced each other just five times in the short-lived rivalry (dating back to 2009), but there's no one the Sabercats would rather eliminate. Why? Because for the last two years, Providence has stolen the North Region title from the Sabercats by tying the game in the final minute before winning in sudden-death overtime.
So in simple terms, this is more than a semifinal to the Sabercats. This is about settling the score.
Providence is the team in richer form coming into the semifinal, as they have won four of their last five games. Maranatha finished the season by facing some tough competition and now stand at 2-3 in their last five fixtures. The winner of tomorrow's semifinal faces the #1-seed and tournament host, Faith Baptist, who is ranked #3 in the country and is tied at the #1 spot in the national power ratings.
Saturday's final will be at 11:30 a.m.
Men's Soccer has earned the #2 seed for the six-team tournament and will clash with #3 Moody Bible institute tomorrow at noon.
The Maranatha-Moody rivalry is the longest-standing in the North Region, as the two teams have met some 45 times. The series has been split over the last two seasons, and the last time the rivalry was decided by more than one goal was in 2014 - the same year the Sabercats went on to upset the Archers in the national semifinal.
Since then, the Maranatha-Moody match has never meant as much as it will tomorrow.
Both teams have won their last three games, and Moody is fresh off of an 8-1 defeat of Emmaus Bible College in the North Region Quarterfinal yesterday. Maranatha holds the #6 spot in the latest national power ratings while Moody holds down #7. In the latest NCCAA Top 10 Ranking, the Archers are #8 while the Sabercats are #9. The winner advances to the 2:00 p.m. championship on Saturday.
This one has all the makings of a bona fide collegiate classic.
Women's Volleyball has earned the #1 seed for the tournament and will take on the winner of #4 Moody and #5 Calvary in the semifinal match tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m.
The Sabercats swept the Archers back in September but have yet to face Moody's new 6-2 rotation. Calvary enters the tournament as somewhat of an unknown factor but their eight wins this season deserves respect. Moody and Calvary compete at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow and will have a brief rest before taking on the hosting Sabercats later that night.
Maranatha has won the regional title eight times in the last nine seasons and will settle for nothing less than their expectation of the regional banner.
The winners' prerogative for each semifinal will be a berth in the NCCAA North Region Championship games, which will all be held Saturday. Stay updated as each tournament progresses at mbusabercats.com/schedule.