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Photo credit: Bridger Buchi
Photo credit: Bridger Buchi

Sabercats finish 2-2 at MSOE Invitational


  • Result: MBU 3-1 MSOE, MBU 2-3 CC
  • Venue: Kern Center, Milwaukee
  • Attendance: TBA
  • MBU Record: now 5-5 
  • Next Up: vs Judson, next Thursday at 7 p.m. 

MILWAUKEE -- After losing to Alverno College and beating Beloit College in an up-and-down first day at the MSOE Invitational, the Sabercats defeated the hosting Raiders, 3-1, before falling in a 5-set thriller to the Central College Dutch. Alexis Bueltel and Madeline Suderman both registered double-digit kills in the final two matches of the weekend, and the Sabercats were much sharper offensively than they were on Friday night.

Maranatha vs MSOE (19-25, 25-14, 25-14, 25-14)

The Sabercats did not bat an eye against the hosting Raiders, who took the opening set before MBU stormed back to win the final 3 sets, each by a score of 25-14. Maranatha polished up their hitting, as they narrowed down their errors to 5 or fewer per set. Bueltel and Suderman were both credited with 14 kills in the match, and Claire Hansel contributed 6 kills of her own. 

Bueltel was untamable out of the gate, as she swatted down 3 quick kills to give MBU a 5-1 lead. Despite MBU's fast start, MSOE regained their composure to string together a 7-2 run in the middle of the set, and were able to close it out to take a 25-19 win.

Cue Bueltel and Suderman, who racked up their kills tally and kept the Raiders guessing throughout the rest of the morning. The Sabercats stayed in front throughout the second set and closed it out with a 4-0 run to tie the match. Jessica Ureke ended the second set with an ace, and a late-set tear from Suderman helped secure the win in set 3.

Some well-timed kills and aces from Hansel were key difference makers in the fourth, as a 6-0 run in the middle of the set gave the Sabercats the momentum they needed to take the set and the match. Two consecutive aces from Hansel put the finishing touches on a convincing MBU win.

Katie Bender picked up 35 digs in the match, and Karley Johnson and Kelsey Johnson, the sophomore sister tandem, picked up 16 assists apiece. 

Maranatha vs Central (25-12, 20-25, 25-17, 15-25, 10-15)

The final match of the tournament was a thriller, and the Sabercats maintained their new higher standard of sharpness, jumping out to a 1-0 lead for the match via a resounding 25-12 win in the first set. Bueltel and Suderman were joined by Kelsey Johnson and Gabrielle Carpenter in the opener, and the Sabercats' 10-0 run in the middle of the set put the Dutch back on their heels.

The Dutch were resilient, though, and after their opening 12-25 loss, they procured a 25-20 win in the second set when they came out swinging. After holding a quick 14-3 lead, the Dutch seemed to have the second set on lockdown. The Sabercats' mid-set rally combined with Dutch errors gave Central a scare, but CC hung on to secure the 5-point win. 

Just when the Dutch had regained momentum to tie the match at 1, the Sabercats answered with an 8-point victory in the third set. Bueltel and Hansel led MBU's balanced attack, and Karley Johnson - who had 24 assists in the match - made the attacking easy for the Sabercats and unpredictable from the Dutch point of view. After 3 sets, the Sabercats were 2-1 up.

The Dutch would not be deterred, however, and they fought back yet again. Kylie Gerstein and Jenna Dille were the protagonists for Central, as the duo tallied 15 and 10 kills, respectively, in the 5-set matchup. Central limited the Sabercats to 25 points over the final two sets combined, and closed out the match with a 15-10 victory over MBU.

Bender was credited with 23 digs in the second match while Kelsey Johnson (13 digs, 2 block assists) and Bueltel (11 digs, 1 solo block, 2 block assists) made significant defensive contributions.

The Sabercats' next match will be their home opener against Judson University. The match is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 14. Catch the details of the match at