WATERTOWN, Wis. -- It was the first NCAA DIII test of the season for the Sabercats, who came away winless but competitive at a tough Buena Vista Triangular.
The Sabercats ground out three sets on the day against two tough NCAA DIII opponents, but it wasn't enough to score anything in the wins column.
- Maranatha 1-3 Buena Vista (21-25, 23-25, 25-20, 16-25)
- Maranatha 2-3 St. Catherine (18-25, 25-16, 25-21, 21-25, 10-15)
- Venue: Siebens Field House, Buena Vista University
- Location: Storm Lake, Iowa
- Record: MBU (1-2), BVU (1-4), SCU (5-1)
Buena Vista: The Beavers (American Rivers Conference) may have picked up their first win of the season against Maranatha, but BVU's 1-4 record was by no means an indication of their overall quality. The hosts looked menacing from start to finish, putting down 15 kills in the opening set.
After hanging right with BVU for the first two sets (21-25, 23-25), the Sabercats were finally rewarded with a 25-20 win in the third. The Sabercats did some yeoman's work on defense, wearing down the BVU hitters, who combined for 13 attack errors in the third set alone. Allyson Brimer was on hand for two block assists late on, helping the Sabercats to a 7-1 run to finish the Beavers off.
Claire Hansel caught the attention as well with 19 kills and 16 digs in the match while McKenzie Janke did her part with 25 digs. But the MBU celebrations were short-lived, as Buena Vista's Sydney McLaren fueled the win with five kills in the final frame. McLaren's efforts were part of a 25-16 win for BVU, who defended their home court for an overdue first win of the season.
St. Catherine: SCU (MIAC) made the second match of the day a marathon. Five sets. Over two hours of volleyball. Over 400 combined attacks. It was a battle.
After dropping the first set, the Sabercats - led by triple-doubles from Karley Johnson and Kelsey Johnson - fought back with 25-16 and 25-21 wins. But just when things were going MBU's way, the Wildcats showed why they have a knack for winning this season. St. Catherine fought back with a dozen kills and forced Maranatha into 12 attack errors in the frame to force the match into five sets.
It was then that the Sabercats' long weekend bared its teeth, as the fifth set started well but ended poorly for MBU. Seven kills from SCU propelled an 8-1 run for the Minnesotans, who clawed their way from a 7-9 deficit to win 15-10.
Despite the losses, the Sabercats showed their quality and competitiveness against stiff competition - quality that will be needed when November and the NCCAA postseason come around.
STATS (two matches)
- Hansel: 31 K, 34 D
- Janke: 50 D
- Karley: 16 K, 34 A, 32 D, triple-double vs SCU
- Kelsey: 24 K, 39 A, 31 D, triple-double vs SCU
- Kelsey: passes 1,000 career digs on the day
- Jessica Ureke: 40 D
- Series: This was the first time Maranatha has faced Buena Vista
- Series: Maranatha trails the St. Catherine series, 0-2
The Sabercats will travel to Rockford, Illinois next Friday for four matches in two days at the Rockford Invitational. Follow at mbusabercats.com/schedule.