WATERTOWN, Wis. -- After pummeling the resilient Emmaus Bible College Eagles for 102 minutes, the Sabercats finally broke through for a dramatic win.
Tyler Nelson scored a close-range winner in sudden death that gave the Sabercats an NCCAA regional victory in what is always a riveting battle with Emmaus.
- Result: Maranatha 2-1 Emmaus (OT)
- Venue: Maranatha Baptist University
- Location: Watertown, Wis.
- Attendance: 120
- Records: MBU (1-2-0), EBC (0-5-0)
From start to finish, the Sabercats' relentless pressure was matched only with determined defending from the Eagles. In the opening 45 minutes, Maranatha amassed 21 shots and 15 corner kicks had no goals to show for it.
After a frustrating first half, the Sabercats finally broke through after seven minutes of second-half action. Nathan Campbell's free kick yielded a rebound from Jacob Bauer in the Emmaus goal, and Joel Shepard was on hand to tap in the rebound for his first collegiate goal.
But in just a matter of seconds, Emmaus equalized in spectacular fashion.
Straight from the kickoff, Carson McBain collected a pass and launched a shot from 60 yards away that flew right under the crossbar for an incredible and instant equalizer. McBain's effort left the Sabercats completely flummoxed for the time being.
Despite the unexpected setback, the Sabercats redoubled their scoring efforts but could not find a way past Bauer and the rest of the Eagles' defense. The whistle for 90 minutes blew and sudden-death overtime was next.
In the opening 10 minutes of overtime, a Maranatha win seemed inevitable but it never came. The Eagles cleared three shots off their own goal line, and the Sabercats started to think that this just wasn't their day.
But just two minutes into the second overtime period, the Sabercats finally got what they came for. Zeke Steuerwald forced Bauer to make a diving save, and after Josh Hockema's shot was blocked by an Emmaus defender, Nelson made no mistake in finishing the third shot in quick succession. Nelson's calm finish was the exclamation mark on yet another thrilling Maranatha-Emmaus clash, and it caused the Blue and Gold to finally breathe a sigh of relief.
MBU Starters: 1- Kinzler, 4- Roer, 5- Sturgill, 7- Nelson, 8- Campbell, 10- St. Lawrence (C), 11- DeAngelo (C), 12- Steuerwald, 15- J. Hockema, 18- Shepard, 19- C. Hockema (C)
- Shot count: Maranatha 41-5 Emmaus
- Steuerwald, Campbell, Bryant Sturgill: 4 shots on goal each
- Asa St. Lawrence, Austin DeAngelo, Caleb Hockema, Shepard: all played 102 minutes for MBU
- Tim Kinzler: 2 saves in the win
- MBU: 20 corner kicks in the game
- Last year: Maranatha beat the Eagles 4-3 in Iowa
- Series: Maranatha now leads the series, 5-0-0
- The Eagles join the Sabercats in the NCCAA North Region
- Emmaus is off to an 0-5 start but have had multiple close losses
- EBC has 10 regular-season games against NCCAA competition
The Sabercats will continue their home stand with a 1:30 clash with Lawrence University on Saturday. Watch live at mbusabercats.com/schedule.