Two for Two: Sabercats Sweep to Begin Title Defense

Two for Two: Sabercats Sweep to Begin Title Defense

KISSIMMEE, Fla. --- The Sabercats began the defense of their NCCAA National title by winning back to back matches against the Tigers of Grace Bible College and the Bruins of Bob Jones University in straight sets on the opening day of the 2016 NCCAA National Championship.

The Basics

  • Results: Sabercats 3-0 Tigers | Sabercats 3-0 Bruins
  • Venue: Kissimmee Civic Center
  • Box Scores: TBA
  • Sabercats: now 4-0 in NCCAA postseason play

How it Happened

W 3-0 vs Grace (25-19, 25-21, 25-19)

  • The Sabercats had a flat start, shaking off some rust from a two-week break. The Tigers controlled the play in the early goings, as they jumped out to a commanding lead in the early stages of the first set.
  • The Sabercats soon settled into their flow when Ali Renz registered four points to bring the Sabercats back within striking distance, and the recently-named NCCAA DII Player of the Year continued her sharp net play by notching eight kills throughout the first set. When the Sabercats finally had their first lead at 18-17, they never looked back, as they completed an 8-2 run that was fueled by some acrobatic digs from Katie Bender to win 25-19. (1-0)
  • In the second set, the Sabercats settled more into their rhythm and jumped out to a quick 7-1 lead, but the Tigers' accurate hitting kept the Sabercats hard at work. Alexis Johnson put on a determined display at the net in the middle stages of the match, as the All-American's four mid-set kills turned the momentum in favor of the Sabercats as the set wore on.
  • Just as the Sabercats were closing out the set, the Tigers surged back to make the score 22-20 to try to disrupt the Sabercats' rhythm. The Sabercats were unfazed, though, as they closed out the set with another kill from Renz to make it 25-21. (2-0)
  • In the final set, things were back-and-forth from the start as neither side led by more than three points in the opening stages. Grace kept the game tight with sharp attacking, but after the match was deadlocked at 16, Alexis Johnson and Renz closed out the set to help the Sabercats repeat the score from the opening set. (3-0)

W 3-0 vs Bob Jones (25-12, 25-10, 25-17)

  • The Bruins were spirited throughout the entire match and came out swinging, showing determination at the net in an early tradeoff. The Bruins attack revealed early warning signs for the Sabercats, but kills from Johnson and Renz took the unsettled momentum of the match and turned it in the Sabercats' favor. 
  • In the middle stages, the Sabercats began to pull ahead, going up 15-9 to force the Bruins to call a timeout. After the break, the Sabercats showed their variety in attack, as Madeline Thompson and Kelsey Johnson both got involved with kills to help close out the first set 25-12. (1-0)
  • The second set was all about Alison Renz in the early goings. Aided with enticing sets from Julia Gunst and Karley Johnson, Renz recorded 11 of the Sabercats first 20 points, as the Lake Mills native exploited even the smallest of holes in the Bruin defense, swinging the set to be decidedly in the Sabercats' favor. 
  • Some other freshmen earned valuable NCCAA Nationals experience - McKenzie Janke, Jessica Ureke, and Gabrielle Carpenter all came in to help the Sabercats close out a decisive second set as they held the Bruins to just 10 points. (2-0)
  • The third set rolled out to be tightly contested, as the Sabercats held just an 11-10 lead going into a mid-set timeout. In the late stages of the set, the Sabercats began to pull away and looked to be cruising to another win. The Bruins' resolve stayed consistent, however, as they stayed sharp with their attack to record late kills, but it was not enough to reverse the Sabercats' early-set work. When Renz tipped the last point, the Sabercats had concluded the first day of their title defense without dropping a set (3-0)

Up Next

  • The Sabercats will have their final game in pool play tomorrow morning at 10 AM (EST) against Randall University, and will then play Friday evening at either 5:30 or 7:30 PM (EST) depending on the results of the morning matches.
  • You can watch the games live at this location courtesy of the Tourbeau Sports Group.
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