WATERTOWN, Wis. -- The defending national champions were temporarily dethroned tonight, as Emmaus Bible College upset the Sabercats on the Maranatha campus.
It was a rematch of last year's NCCAA regional semifinal, and the loss is the Sabercats' first in NCCAA regional play since November of 2013. With the win, the Eagles remain undefeated for the year.
- Result: Maranatha 1-3 Emmaus (21-25, 25-22, 23-25, 16-25)
- Venue: Maranatha Baptist University
- Location: Watertown, Wis.
- Attendance: 208
- Record: MBU (6-3), EBC (8-0)
This match was a combination of an off-night performance from the Sabercats and a notably bolstered Emmaus team - the story was quite a change from last year's 3-0 MBU win in the regional semifinal. Tonight was a close match from start to finish.
All in all, the Sabercats recorded a season-high 30 hitting errors while the Eagles were able to hit the gaps in the MBU defense throughout the night.
The first set was an out and out battle, as the biggest lead was a brief 9-6 advantage for MBU until Emmaus won the set, 25-21. Paige Sweeney came out of the gate swinging, as she single-handedly slammed down six kills for the Eagles - a mark that matched the team-wide effort from MBU.
MBU started the second set with a renewed purpose, as they strung together a 7-1 run to put the Eagles' momentum on hold. Or so it seemed. When the Eagles responded with a four-kill, seven-point streak, the Sabercats knew they had a job on their hands. Karley Johnson and Claire Hansel pulled the Sabercats through a momentum-shifting second set, as the duo combined for nine kills in the set.
EBC then capped off the night with their best offensive performances of the evening, as the Eagles logged 28 kills over the final two sets combined. Sweeney improved her kill total to 16 on the night while Paulina Velderrain came in with 11.
- MBU: logged second-lowest attack percentage of the year (.045)
- Hansel: fifth match with double-digit kills this season
- Kelsey Johnson: 13 digs and a season-high 23 assists
- MBU: team-season-high 10 blocks on the night
- Kill count: Emmaus 47-37 Maranatha
- Series: MBU leads the all-time series, 4-1
The Sabercats travel to Marian University for a 7:00 p.m. match Friday night. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.