GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Sabercats were pushed beyond their limit at the 2018 NCCAA DII National Tournament, and their thrilling fourpeat run was ended in the championship match by the Bob Jones University Bruins.
The loss ends both the Sabercats' season and an unbeaten NCCAA postseason run of 30 matches, spanning from 2015-2018.
- Result: #2 Maranatha 0-3 #1 Bob Jones (27-29, 17-25, 19-25)
- Venue: Davis Field House, Bob Jones University
- Location: Greenville, S.C.
- Records: MBU (24-13, 13-2 NCCAA) BJU (36-5, 13-0 NCCAA)
It was a nervy start to the championship match, but both teams looked up to the task. Three early kills and three aces gave BJU a 7-3 lead, but the Sabercats responded with eight unanswered points to take an 11-7 lead. Both teams were strong at the net in the opener, and no one could gain legitimate control of the set as it sped on. Five kills from Karley Johnson were good, but the Bruins' defense was better - six blocks in the first set alone put BJU ahead, 22-21, which was their first lead since they were in front, 7-6. Fittingly, the first set was extended, and after MBU had four set points, the Bruins took the set with consecutive kills from Jordan Anderson, 29-27.
The Sabercats built on the positives from the first set, swinging themselves out to an 11-8 lead in the second act. An ace made the lead change hands, though, as the Bruins took the lead back to the tune of 16-15. From there, it was all about the Bruins, as BJU strung together a 9-2 run to win, 25-17. The Sabercats were feeling the fatiguing effects of their previous three matches.
To win four straight, the Sabercats needed to win three straight.
And with the way the Bruins played in the third set, it wasn't going to be feasible. And in the end, it wasn't going to be possible. Bob Jones maintained an edge throughout the final set, as the Sabercats fought to the finish but didn't have the fuel in the tank to stay with the Bruins.
After a memorable postseason run, the Sabercats were denied their second fourpeat in school history.
- Box Score: TBA
- Karley: 11 kills
- BJU: 10 aces
- Beaver: named tournament MVP, recorded 14 kills in the match
- Series: MBU now leads the series, 2-1
A full recap of the season will be forthcoming at mbusabercats.com.