Sabercats Face Stiff Competition at MSOE Day One

Photo credit: Kaitlyn Dobson
Photo credit: Kaitlyn Dobson

THE LEAD

MILWAUKEE -- The opening day of the MSOE Invitational saw MBU take losses against two powerhouse DIII programs: Benedictine University and Wisconsin-River Falls. BenU is transitioning to NCAA DII while River Falls has been a WIAC mainstay for over 30 years.

THE OVERVIEW

  • Results:
    • MBU 0-3 Benedictine (23-25, 18-25, 20-25)
    • MBU 1-3 Wis.-River Falls (25-9, 20-25, 13-25, 20-25)
  • Venue: Kern Center, Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Location: Milwaukee
  • Record: MBU (4-2)

THE STORY

Benedictine: Maranatha had their hands full against the Eagles. The soon-to-be DII school is a perennial NACC powerhouse, but Maranatha competed with BenU despite a low attack percentage. MBU recorded 22 kills that were offset by 22 errors. Neither team had more than a two-point lead through the majority of the opening set, and a couple of late kills from Benedictine tipped the set in favor of the Eagles, 25-23.

Maranatha hung with Benedictine in the final two sets, but a stark contrast between the two teams was at the net - Maranatha couldn't find the holes in the tight Benedictine defense, as the Eagles forced the Sabercats into committing more errors than kills in the final two sets combined. On the other side of the court, BenU earned their keep and showed why they are moving up a division. The Eagles slammed down 25 kills over the final two sets, and would ultimately win both their matches on the opening day of the Invitational.

--

River Falls: The Sabercats rebounded quickly from the opening loss, as they trounced the River Falls Falcons, 25-9, in the opening set of the second match. A kill and three aces from Jessica Ureke fueled an 8-1 opening run that set the momentum squarely in Maranatha's favor. Another late run of 9-1 put Maranatha out of reach of River Falls, who were left reeling from Maranatha's momentum. Late kills from Kelsey Johnson helped finish the Falcons off in the opening set. Johnson would eventually log a triple-double with 10 kills, 13 assists, and 11 digs.

As it turned out, it seemed that River Falls needed a wake-up call, as the Falcons responded with three consecutive set wins. River Falls came out swinging and took the second set, 25-20 registering 15 kills in the set. Once again, the Sabercats' attack was inconsistent, as they were charged with 11 hitting errors in the third frame - a set that fell 25-13 to the Falcons, which marked MBU's worst set defeat of the day.

Maranatha tried to salvage the match with an attack line of 12-1-37 in the final set, but the Falcons met the charge head-on, winning 25-20 to take the match, 3-1. 

THE STATS (COMBINED)

  • Kelsey: logged her first triple-double of the season against UWRF
  • Karley Johnson: distributed 21 assists on the day
  • McKenzie Janke: led the MBU defense with 22 digs 
  • Ureke: had 8 kills against UWRF - tying her career high
  • Series (BenU): Benedictine holds a 10-1 series advantage
  • Series (UWRF): River Falls has won both times the teams have met (2010, 2018)

THE OUTLOOK

Maranatha will continue play at the MSOE Invitational tomorrow. Play is set to start at 10 AM against MSOE. Catch the details at mbusabercats.com/composite.

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