Championship Bound: Sabercats Sweep Day One of Regionals

Photo credit: Kaitlyn Dobson
Photo credit: Kaitlyn Dobson

THE OVERVIEW

  • Results: Maranatha 3-0 Calvary (25-8, 25-8, 25-11), Maranatha 3-0 Emmaus (25-21, 25-22, 25-16)
  • Venue: MBU Gymnasium
  • Attendance: 100, 120
  • Record: Sabercats are now 18-14, and 2-0 in the postseason
  • Next Match for MBU: Saturday, Nov. 4 vs Providence-Manitoba - NCCAA Regional Championship (1:30 p.m.)

THE LEAD

WATERTOWN, Wis. -- After their impressive display today, the Sabercats will be matched up against their rivals in the NCCAA Regional Championship yet again.

MBU will face Providence-Manitoba tomorrow afternoon for the regional title. It is the same story in a new year - this will be the fourth straight match that the Sabercats have faced the Pilots with a title on the line.

The rivalry has spanned 3 seasons to become more than just a rivalry - it is the perennial powerhouse pairing of the NCCAA DII.

THE STORY

 

The Sabercats were matched up against the #6 seed, Calvary University, in the first match. MBU was unstoppable, as they held the Warriors to just 30 points in a quick, 3-set match.

Madeline Suderman was the primary threat on offense for MBU, as she finished with 11 kills in the match. Katie Bender led the defensive charge with 12 digs, and Karley Johnson and Kelsey Johnson each contributed 9 assists.

Next up for the Sabercats was the #2 seed, the Eagles of Emmaus Bible College. This was MBU's first look at EBC this season, who entered the tournament as a proverbial "dark horse" with a convincing 18-2 record. The Eagles showed early on that they came to prove a point.

While the Eagles kept the pressure on MBU, the Sabercats stepped their game up a notch. The Sabercats were polished and alert across the board to meet the rigorous demands of a regional semifinal match.

Alexis Bueltel showed strong senior leadership at the net. The Michigander finished with a line of 16-1-30, and half of those kills came in the first set alone. Led by Bueltel, the Sabercats fought to earn a 25-21 win in the opening set.

The Eagles showed resolve in the second set, as they tried to mount a late charge when the set seemed to be out of reach. After MBU posted a 5-0 run to take a 23-16 lead, they committed some errors at the net to let the Eagles back in it at 24-22. The momentum quickly shifted back, however, as an Emmaus error in the next rally cut the comeback short. After the 25-22 win in the second, the Sabercats were poised for a championship berth.

With the title match in their sights, the Sabercats never looked back. MBU stormed out to a commanding lead in the final set, and it was a well-balanced attack for MBU that led the way - as has been the story all season. Five different Sabercats registered kills in the early goings to put the match virtually out of reach at 20-8.

Still, the Sabercats needed to take care of things, and Katie Bender ensured a stress-free end to the match, as she registered 21 digs in the evening clash. At the net, Claire Hansel showed promise as a rookie, as she ended the evening match with 5 kills and 5 blocks. Karley Johnson also had a noteworthy match, as she logged 7 kills, 15 assists, and 6 digs.

THE CALENDAR

The fourth straight title match (2 national, 2 regional) between MBU and PUC will begin tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. Catch the details at mbusabercats.com/composite.