WYOMING, Mich. -- Even a(nother) record-breaking Alexis Sponable hat-trick wasn't enough for a Sabercats win, as Maranatha tied Grace Christian 3-3 after a thrilling overtime battle.
The big news of the afternoon was Sponable's hat-trick sending her to 124 career points - good enough for the Maranatha Women's Soccer career points record to add to her goals record from just the day before.
- Result: Maranatha 3-3 Grace Christian (2OT)
- Venue: Velting Field, Grace Christian University
- Location: Wyoming, Mich.
- Attendance: 64
- Record: MBU (3-3-1), GCU (3-1-1)
The Tigers got on the board first, converting a breakaway opportunity in the 17th minute to give themselves the advantage. From there, the Sabercats had to put in extra effort to turn the game around.
The pressure paid off in the 32nd minute with Sponable scored from the penalty spot. It was Sponable's third goal in two days and the Sabercats had the equalizer they were looking for.
Sponable quickly reinforced the Sabercats' intentions by adding a second. Angel Steuerwald provided the assist as Sponable collected the ball at the top of the box before firing into the corner for the second time in three minutes to give the Sabercats the 2-1 lead - a lead that would hold going into halftime.
But the Tigers regrouped after losing the early advantage. Jennie Sue Pilieci scored her second of the game as the Tigers tied things up at 2-2.
Then, two minutes later, Sponable answered. The record-holder completed her hat-trick off a pass from Taylor Moses, finishing from 12 yards into the bottom-left corner off Moses' enticing through ball. Just like that, Sponable had secured the inevitable program points record, the momentum had swung back in Maranatha's favor, and the lead had come with it.
But this was the Tigers' field. Just four minutes after Sponable's hat-trick was complete, the Tigers responded to level the score. It was the final action on the scoresheet, as, fittingly, the game ended in a tie after a back-and-forth finish to both regulation and two sudden-death overtimes.
Who knows if the two teams will meet again? It could be in Florida next month. The warning shots have been fired from both sides, and both will be looking to settle the difference if they get a second chance.
MBU Starters: 0- Wright, 6- Montgomery, 7- Evans (C), 11- Torres, 13- Bagin (C), 14- Sponable (C), 15- Massey, 16-Vander Pluym, 17- Moses, 19- Steuerwald, 20- Hassenplug
- Shot count: Maranatha 17-22 Grace Christian
- Sponable: ninth career hat-trick
- Sponable: now has a program-record 57 goals
- Moses: 1st assist on the season, now has 11 points in 2020
- Last time: Grace Christian won 2-0 at Maranatha last season
- Series: Maranatha now leads the all-time series 10-2-2
- Grace Christian is the defending NCCAA DII national runner-up
- Grace Christian competes in the NCCAA DII Mideast Region
- Grace Christian has won the Mideast Region Championship four years in a row
The Sabercats will take on Grace Christian University tomorrow at 12 p.m. Eastern. Find gameday details at mbusabercats.com/schedule.