ANKENY, Iowa -- The Sabercats have set the stage for their fifth consecutive regional title, as they swept Oak Hills and Providence today to earn an NCCAA North Region Championship berth.
The Sabercats will play at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow and will face the winner of Emmaus Bible College and Moody Bible Institute.
- #2 Maranatha 3-0 #7 Oak Hills (25-23, 25-18, 25-22)
- #2 Maranatha 3-0 #3 Providence (25-11, 25-22, 25-18)
- Venue: Convocation Center, Faith Baptist Bible College
- Location: Ankeny, Iowa
- Record: MBU is now 19-12
Oak Hills: The Sabercats overpowered the Wolfpack, as they limited Oak Hills to just eight kills in the entire match. MBU limited OHCC to single digits in two of the three frames and attacked for a tidy .333 percent in the contest. Kelsey Johnson put up yet another triple-double, as she logged 12 kills, 17 assists, and 11 digs. Claire Hansel added nine kills of her own, and Karley Johnson registered an eight-kill, 15-assist, and 11-dig showing.
After the opening match against the Wolfpack, the Sabercats were ready for an even bigger test.
Providence: The Pilots were somewhat of an unknown factor entering the tournament, as they had only played three of the other seven regional teams during the regular season. Historically, the Pilots have made some noise in the postseason, but the Sabercats quickly spoiled PUC's plans with a 25-11 win in the opening set. The Sabercats' attack was one of variety in the middle stages of the set, and the Pilots could not solve the Sabercats' unpredictability.
Providence came closest in the second, as they put up 10 kills and 22 points. The second act was characterized by momentum swings, as the middle of the set saw the lead change hands a few different times. Late kills from Gabrielle Carpenter and Hansel helped solidify the set, and the Sabercats were poised for their sixth straight win over the Pilots.
That win came soon enough. A 10-1 run in the middle of the set seemed to remove all doubt that Maranatha was the better team on the day. Down 22-10, the Pilots made things interesting with a 7-1 run, but that run simply prolonged the inevitable. Two late miscues from Providence gave Maranatha a 25-18 win and a ticket to the NCCAA North Region Championship.
- McKenzie Janke: led MBU with 35 digs on the day
- vs PUC: Kelsey Johnson put up 7 kills, 14 assists, and 8 digs
- OHCC Series: MBU now holds a 2-0 advantage in the series
- PUC Series: The Sabercats hold a 6-0 record against the Pilots
The Sabercats will play in tomorrow's championship match at 2:00 p.m., and will await the winner of the other semifinal match between No. 1 Emmaus Bible College and No. 5 Moody Bible Institute. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.