PALOS HEIGHTS, Ill. -- At the NCCAA National Invitational, the Sabercats improved on the day against two of the top three teams at the tournament.
After taking a set off of #2 Campbellsville, the Sabercats fell in straight sets to #3 Trinity Christian, who are the hosts and a definite contender for the title.
- #7 Maranatha 1-3 #2 Campbellsville (14-25, 15-25, 25-19, 14-25)
- #7 Maranatha 0-3 #3 Trinity Christian (7-25, 9-25, 22-25)
- Venue: DeVos Gymnasium, Trinity Christian College
- Location: Palos Heights, Ill.
- Records: MBU (0-3), CU (2-3), TCC (5-0)
The Sabercats were thrown right into the fire in the first set of the match against Campbellsville, as the Tigers came out with a match-high 16 kills in the first set alone. MBU then shored up the defense to limit the Tigers' offensive damage in the second frame, and the Blue and Gold took home the third set thanks to some aggressive swinging from Derek Wallis and Taylor Dafoe. The duo combined for six kills in the set to give MBU a hard-earned set win.
The momentum wouldn't last, though, as the favorited Tigers repeated the scoreline from the opening set to take home the match. Still, the Sabercats had played their calling card of improvement as the match went on, and after taking a set off the #2 seed, the Sabercats were bolstered for their second match of the day.
That match proved to be harder than the first. Yes, Trinity is only the #3 seed but they are also the host institution, and they showed why they are a legitimate title contender. The Trolls averaged over 15 kills per set to take a convincing win over MBU, who battled hard in the third set to make things interesting.
MBU posted a match-best nine kills in the final frame, and Wallis finished the match by adding four more kills to his tally of 14 from the opening match. Joel Smith did his part as well with four kills, but the Sabercats' efforts weren't enough to stop the hosts.
- Wallis: 18 kills
- MBU: 35 kills
- Rory Massey: 15 digs
- Dafoe: 20 assists
- Both Campbellsville and Trinity Christian compete in the NCCAA and the NAIA
- In 2018, Campbellsville held an 8-2 record against teams at the 2019 National Invitational
- MBU took on Trinity last year twice, falling in straight sets both times
The Sabercats will continue their play at the 2019 National Invitational tomorrow. The first match will be against #6 Bluefield College at 11:00 a.m., and the result of that match will determine the timing of one final match for MBU. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.