Situation: Normal - Sabercats Win Opening Matches at Nationals
- Results: #3 Maranatha 3-1 #6 Toccoa Falls (25-16, 25-21, 21-25, 25-21), #3 Maranatha 3-0 #7 Johnson (25-12, 25-14, 25-20)
- Venue: Davis Field House, Bob Jones University
- Attendance: 122, 171
- Record: Sabercats are now 21-14, and 5-0 in the postseason
- Next Match for MBU: Friday, Nov. 17 vs Randall - NCCAA National Championship Pool Play (9 a.m.)
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The defending NCCAA DII national champs began their bid for a third straight title with 2 impressive matches today. The Sabercats topped Toccoa Falls College, 3-1, before sweeping Johnson University Tennessee on the opening day of the 2017 National Tournament.
With the wins, the Sabercats have secured their semifinal berth and are tied with Randall University for the top spot in Pool B. MBU will face the Saints tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. Central in a match that will decide the winner of the pool.
The Sabercats were matched up against the #6 seed, Toccoa Falls, in the first match of the day. The Sabercats were polished from start to finish, and Claire Hansel teamed up with Alexis Bueltel on attack.
The pair contributed 13 kills each through the 4-set match.
Madeline Suderman pitched in 10 kills of her own as the Sabercats registered a solid 53 kills all told.
Katie Bender passed a perfect serve receive in the match and finished with 25 digs. The 2nd-Team All-America selection proved her worth as libero to keep the momentum going for MBU.
Toccoa Falls battled throughout the match, as the lead changed hands 15 times over the last 2 sets combined. TFC managed to take one set off the Sabercats, which was the first time an MBU opponent has done so at the national tournament since 2014.
Bueltel, who recently earned NCCAA 1st-Tean All-America status, helped close out the match with a couple of late kills in the final set. Bueltel added 4 blocks to mark her noteworthy contribution at the net.
The Sabercats had an easier day against Johnson, who yielded to MBU in 3 sets. The Sabercats breezed through the opening 2 sets by allowing just 26 points. Bender was scrappy on defense, as she picked up another 19 digs.
With her contribution of digs today, Bender has registered 1,207 all time, which lands her 10th on the career digs list for MBU program history. Bender is playing in just her second season.
Suderman led the charge offensively, as she had a tidy line of 10 kills, 1 error, 23 attempts. Errors made a difference for the Royals, as JUT logged 30 miscues through the match.
Bueltel added 9 kills in the second match. Karley Johnson added 7 kills of her own while pitching in 15 assists and 16 digs.
With the wins, the Sabercats are tied with Randall University for the top spot in Pool B, and will face the Saints tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. Central. That match will decide the winner of the pool. Catch the details at mbusabercats.com/composite.