The 2016 finished in heartbreak for the Sabercats, who had finished NCCAA DII National runners-up for the past two years in a row. Two days in a row at NCCAA Nationals, the Sabercats were goalless against the opponents, and fell twice in shootouts, both of which finished with a scoreline of 3-4.
Despite the disappointing end, Coach David Anderson and the Sabercats took great strides as a program, as they emerged out of an expanded NCCAA regional format without conceding a goal. The team posted a 3-0 win on the road against the AD3I-toppers Mount Mary University, and finished the regular season with a five-game unbeaten streak through the month of October, which included a three-goal blanking of Rockford University down in Illinois.
With a bye into the NCCAA Regional final, the Sabercats had an emphatic 6-0 win against the Pilots of Providence University College. That win marked their fourth consecutive shutout win, and was part of a streak at the end of the season where the Sabercats did not concede a single goal in 584 consecutive minutes of play - a span that marks the longest accumulation of consecutive shutout minutes in program history.
- Overall Record: 6-9-1
- Record at Home: 3-4-1
- NCCAA Record: 4-0-2
- NCCAA All-Regional Selections:
- NCCAA All-America Selections:
- AD3I All-Independent:
- NCCAA Scholar-Athletes:
Coach Anderson's Take:
How did you improve throughout the season? "I feel that we transitioned from an early season dependence on individual brilliance to a late season understanding of team attacking. We finished the season using the wide areas of the field to our advantage more efficiently."
Thoughts on the shootout losses at NCCAA Nationals? "I think as fortunate as we were to make it to the shootout in one game we were just as unfortunate to end with kicks in the other. I told the girls that we will learn from this and allow the end of our season to motivate our off season training: we want to play better to avoid the unpredictability of kicks, but we can take comfort in how close we were to a more desirable outcome."
What impressed you the most about this team? "This team was so impressive in their character; specifically, their intense desire to improve was most notable. We had great unity as we pursued our team goals and for that I am thankful."
What are your general thoughts for next season? "Initially, I think of the "big shoes" we will need to fill as we graduate so many seniors. But I also eagerly anticipate the opportunity to work together as a team with the momentum we have established in 2016. A great foundation has been laid, and we are hungry for excellence in the season to come."
- Audrey Risma shone in her final year in Sabercat colors. Risma controlled the midfield, was a leader on the team, and tallied her career-best goals and assists tally, as the senior led the Sabercats with 18 points (six goals and six assists) on the year. Risma was named as the NCCAA North Region player of the year, was an AD3I First-Team All-Independent selection, and garnered NSCAA All-America (NCCAA First Team) honors. Risma was named to the NCCAA All-America first team for the third year in a row, which was the first time a player in Maranatha Women's Soccer history has achieved the feat.
- Alison Hernandez joined Risma in the middle of the field, and added six goals and two assists of her own. Hernandez faced the added challenge of rehabilitation in the off-season, as the Sophomore went down in the last game of the 2015 season. This year, Hernandez helped dictate the Sabercats' attack, and was named to the AD3I Second-Team All-Independents, and earned second-team honors in the NCCAA for the second year running.
- Amanda Walton was a team captain and an anchor of the Sabercat back line. Walton helped the Sabercats to six shutout wins on the season while adding a goal and an assist from the right back position. Walton demonstrated consistency from the deep position, and helped stabilize the Sabercats in possession.
- Hannah Anderson had a career game in the NCCAA semifinal, as she recorded the shutout while notching 16 saves. Anderson kept a clean sheet for all 220 of play at the national tournament, and was responsible for four shutout wins on the season. Anderson garnered first team all-american honors in the NCCAA, and was selected to the third team for the AD3I All-Independents.
For more on the Sabercats Women's Soccer Team including statistics, all-time records, and awards, visit their team page here.