Long, Hard Fight

Photo credit: Kaitlyn Dobson
Photo credit: Kaitlyn Dobson
THE LEAD

WATERTOWN, Wis. -- It was a close match the entire time tonight, and MBU came out on the wrong side of a gritty five-set match with Beloit College.

The loss leaves the Sabercats 0-2 at home so far, as they will look to end that streak with a win on Thursday night.

THE OVERVIEW

  • Result: Maranatha 2-3 Beloit (25-19, 23-25, 17-25, 25-21, 13-15)
  • Venue: Maranatha Baptist University
  • Location: Watertown, Wis.
  • Attendance: 269
  • Record: MBU (8-5), BC (4-8)

THE STORY

The Bucs showed early on that their defense was there to play. MBU had their chances for kills, but the Bucs dug it up to keep their hopes alive. But a couple of late kills from Gabrielle Carpenter ultimately secured the opening-set win. The Sabercats' 10 kills in the opening set were dispersed between five players in blue and gold.

The Sabercats had some big kills early on in the second set, as Karley Johnson and Claire Hansel kept the momentum going on offense. But the Bucs came back, making MBU earn every point they got. The second set was marked by some long rallies in the middle of the set, and the Sabercats persisted. Jessica Ureke and Karley Johnson came up big at the net, forcing Beloit to call a timeout with a score of 20-18 in MBU's favor. That time came after a four-point MBU run to turn a two-point deficit on its head.

The ending to the set was dramatic and the momentum was fragile. Carpenter was once again on hand to give Maranatha two big kills, but the Bucs won the set with a 7-2 run that was fueled by five late MBU miscues. After a 25-23 win, the Bucs had new life in the tied match.

The Bucs' defense was the star of the show in the third set. After a close set in the opening stages, the Bucs concocted a 7-1 run to take the lead, 22-15. The Beloit defense seemed to be everywhere, as four of their last 10 points were from blocks. On Beloit's end of things, Eva Laun-Smith's powerful attacks kept the Sabercats' defense on their heels. Needless to say, it was a frustrating third set for MBU.

MBU vented their frustration on Beloit in the fourth set, as the Sabercats came out to a 10-6 lead through a couple of Hansel kills. The Bucs once again stayed close, but Hansel and Ureke came up big at the net to give MBU a slight edge late on. A huge solo block from Karley put the Sabercats one point away, and a quick kill from Carpenter put the fourth set to bed. It was anyone's match entering set five.

The Sabercats had to earn every point they got in the early stages of the last set, and a kill by Carpenter had the teams switch sides with an 8-7 lead for Maranatha. Three kills from Kelsey kept the Sabercats on level pegging with a determined Bucs offense, but a couple of slams from Laun-Smith gave the Buccaneers the advantage in the end.

THE STATS

  • MBU: 10 kills in the last set; 50 kills on the night
  • Kelsey: triple-double with 10 kills, 28 assists, and 10 digs - the assists mark ties her career-high
  • Allyson Brimer: career co-best 5 blocks
  • Laun-Smith: 22 kills
  • Beloit: 13 blocks
  • Hansel: 14 kills and 22 digs on the night - that mark is her career-high in digs
  • Series: Beloit leads the all-time series, 7-6

THE OPPONENTS

  • Beloit competes in the Midwest Conference (NCAA DIII)
  • The Bucs haven't begun conference play
  • Laun-Smith was just named as the MWC player of the week
  • The Bucs entered tonight's match with a 3-8 record

THE OUTLOOK

The Sabercats stay at home to take on Wisconsin Lutheran College at 7:00 p.m. Thursday night. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.

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