ANKENY, Iowa -- On a cold day in Iowa, the Sabercats had their regional hopes dashed by two sensational goals from the Moody Archers.
The loss ends the Sabercats' regional run, but the fate of the Sabercats' season hinges on Sunday night's at-large selection for the NCCAA DII National Tournament.
- Result: Maranatha 0-2 Moody
- Venue: Pyche Field, Faith Baptist Bible College
- Location: Ankeny, Iowa
- Attendance: 139
- Records: MBU (8-7-2), MBI (8-6-0)
Every game has a different story, and the Sabercats seemed to be writing a different one from the last time they played Moody. Zeke Steuerwald had an early chance, and his shot was tipped by the goalkeeper then cleared off the line by a Moody defender. Early on, the Sabercats had announced their winning intentions, and Moody was on the back foot in the first half.
Going into halftime, the shots were even at 5-5, but the Sabercats had the better looks. The score was tied, and the Maranatha-Moody rivalry was halfway through another thrilling chapter.
Right away in the second half, the Sabercats had the closest attempt of the game when Stephen Roer's cross drifted towards the far corner and hit the underside of the crossbar. The ball ricocheted down and almost deflected into the goal off of Steuerwald, but the ball sailed agonizingly wide and the game remained goalless.
End-to-end action characterized the next few minutes, and it looked like anyone could score at any given time. Tim Kinzler made a double save to keep Moody off the board, but the Archers finally made the breakthrough in the 55th minute. Liam Clinch had the honor, as he blasted a 20-yard free kick over the wall and into the corner for an unstoppable opening goal.
Straightaway, Austin DeAngelo nearly equalized at the other end of the field, but his shot rolled just wide of the Archers' net. The Sabercats were showing determination.
Despite a positive response from Maranatha, Moody remained undeterred. Just five minutes after Clinch smacked the first goal, he had an equally impressive second. The ball fell to the Moody midfielder 30 yards away from the Sabercats' goal, and he looped a volley just underneath the crossbar for an eye-catching encore to his phenomenal free kick.
Against the run of play, Moody suddenly had a 2-0 lead.
From there, the game remained an all-out battle until the end, but there was simply no way to score for the Sabercats. After 90 chilly minutes in Iowa, the Sabercats had once again fallen in the NCCAA Regional Semifinal.
MBU Starters: 1- Kinzler, 4- Roer, 7- Nelson, 8- Campbell, 10-St. Lawrence (C), 11- DeAngelo (C), 12- Steuerwald, 13- Amankulov, 15- J. Hockema, 18- Shepard, 19- C. Hockema (C)
- Shot count: Maranatha 13-14 Moody
- Moody: put 12 out of 14 shots on target
- Tyler Nelson: put all 3 of his shots on target
- Steuerwald: 4 shots, 2 shots on goal
- Kinzler: 10 saves on the day
- Last time: Maranatha took a 0-1 loss at Moody on September 24
- Series: Moody now leads the all-time series 32-14-0
- Moody competes with Maranatha for the NCCAA North Region
- Since 2011, Moody has won three NCCAA DII national titles with one runner-up finish
The Sabercats will now await the selection of the at-large bid recipients for the NCCAA DII National Tournament. The at-large bid is given based on the NCCAA Power Rating system, which currently ranks the Sabercats #6 in the NCCAA DII. The selection results will be announced at mbusabercats.com.