WATERTOWN, Wis. -- On a rainy day in Watertown, the Sabercats showed notable promise but were handed a 2-0 loss by the reigning NCCAA national champions.
The loss halts a two-game winning streak for Maranatha, who was held scoreless despite playing solid soccer from start to finish.
- Result: No. 4 Maranatha 0-2 No. 2 Grace Christian
- Venue: Maranatha Baptist University
- Location: Watertown, Wis.
- Attendance: 65
- Records: No. 4 MBU (3-3-0), No. 2 GCU (5-6-0)
The Tigers started the game with a flourish, posting six shots in the opening 15 minutes. Trisha Wright was up to the task on the four shots that were on target, but the Tigers' persistence was eventually rewarded in the 24th minute when Maddie Brown capitalized on her opportunity. 1-0 Tigers.
Brown's goal was the only one of the first half, as both teams gave the goalkeepers a workout. Wright made nine saves in the opening half alone while Regan Befus denied the Sabercats on four different occasions.
The second half was more or less a repeat of the first half: both teams had their fair share of chances but the Tigers struck again in the 56th minute through Jennie-Sue Pilieci.
Pilieci's goal was deflating, but it didn't stop the Sabercats from piling on the pressure. At the 67-minute mark, Alexis Sponable fired a free kick from 20 yards that skimmed the crossbar, and two minutes later, Gabrielle Torres hit the post. The Sabercats were getting closer, but they couldn't find the breakthrough. After 90 rainy minutes, the Tigers remained perfect in NCCAA play, reinforcing their status as defending national champions.
MBU Starters: 0- Wright, 6- Montgomery (C), 7- Evans, 8-Nelson, 9- Ng, 10- Riley, 13- Bagin, 14- Sponable, 15- Hendrickson, 17- Moses, 19- Steuerwald
"The scoresheet doesn't tell the whole story for this game, as it often doesn't," said associate head coach Matt Sheeley. "We played some of the best soccer I've seen us play. We are far more organized and some younger players have stepped up to make that happen. Sarah Bagin and McKenna Hendrickson were great at center back today, and Hannah Evans is getting more comfortable distributing the ball in midfield. Sarah Moore and Gabrielle Torres also gave us solid minutes in the second half.
"It was awesome to get a taste of what nationals could look like. A lot of positive takeaway from this game for sure."
- Shot count: Maranatha 18-21 Grace Christian
- Wright: 10 saves
- Last year: Grace Christian won 2-0 at home
- Series: Maranatha now leads the series 10-2-1
- Grace Christian is the defending NCCAA DII national champions
- The Tigers compete in the NCCAA DII Mideast Region
- GCU is now 3-0 in NCCAA play this season
The Sabercats will travel to Lincoln Christian next Saturday for a 12:00 p.m. matchup with the Red Lions. Follow at mbusabercats.com/schedule.