Sabercats' Comeback Falls Short Against Lakeland

Photo credit: Zackarie Bell
Photo credit: Zackarie Bell

THE OVERVIEW

  • Result: Maranatha 2-3 Lakeland (16-25, 15-25, 25-18, 25-17, 15-11) 
  • Venue: Seaver Center, Rockford University
  • Attendance: 31
  • Record: Sabercats are now 14-14
  • Next Match for MBU: Tuesday, October 24 vs Mount Mary - 7:00 p.m.

THE LEAD

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- After winning sets 3 and 4, the Sabercats ultimately fell short to the Lakeland University Muskies despite a career-best performance from Alexis Bueltel.

The senior tallied 24 kills (career best) and 18 digs on the night, while her sisters - Karley Johnson and Kelsey Johnson - each logged triple-doubles. But despite the noteworthy sister act, the Sabercats saw the match slip away in the fifth set to a determined Muskie squad.

THE STORY

The Muskies took control of the first set in the closing stages, as they went on a 9-2 run to seal the opening-set win. The Muskies were in the zone on offense, as they registered 17 kills to just 1 error as a team. The Muskies had multiple hitters contribute, as they finished the night with 4 players logging double-digit kills.

The second set yielded a similar story, as the Muskies hit the Sabercats for 16 kills this time. On the MBU side of the net, the Sabercats were just off of their offensive groove, as they logged 12 hitting errors in the opening 2 sets combined. This was due to a tall and tough Muskie defense, which finished the night with 1 solo block and 18 block assists.

After 2 sets of Muskie dominance, the match seemed to be on ice.

But the Sabercats were not going down without a fight. Multiple kills from Bueltel, Claire Hansel, Karley Johnson, and Jessica Ureke fueled a hard-charging win in the third set. The Sabercats combined for 17 kills in the set, which was their highest count of any set in the match.

The fourth set was a conitinuation of the Sabercats' newfound momentum. The Johnson twins did what they could to extend the match, as they both had noteworthy contributions on either side of the ball. The Sabercats finally threw the Muskie attack off its groove, as Lakeland recorded a match-high 6 errors. MBU grabbed the lead early and never looked back.

The comeback would not be enough, though, as the Muskies regrouped to seal the win that they felt was coming. The abbreviated final set saw the Muskies build an early lead, but the Sabercats fought back, thanks to some Bueltel kills, to tie the set at 8. From then on, however, the Muskies finally finished the job with some help from MBU miscues.

After nearly 2 hours of intense action, the Muskies ultimately stood on top.

THE NUMBERS

Bueltel's 24-kills tally was the best for her since her 17-kill showing at Judson earlier this month.

Karley Johnson would finish the day with 11 kills, 19 assists, and a career-high 23 digs.

Kelsey Johnson finished the match with 13 kills, 25 assists, and 21 digs.

Katie Bender finished the night with 37 digs - that was her second-best mark this season.

THE CALENDAR

 

The Sabercats will return to their home floor to face the Mount Mary University Blue Angels Tuesday night. The match will begin at 7:00 p.m. Catch details at mbusabercats.com/composite.