MADISON, Wis. -- The Sabercats refocused their winning ways this afternoon, taking down Illinois Tech and Edgewood at the Edgewood Triangular.
This marks the 10th and 11th wins in the last 12 matches for Maranatha, who roll into the middle of the season with sky-high confidence.
- Maranatha 3-1 Illinois Tech (28-26, 25-16, 23-25, 25-20)
- Maranatha 3-0 Edgewood (25-21, 25-17, 28-26)
- Venue: Todd Wehr Edgedome, Edgewood College
- Location: Madison, Wis.
- Attendance: 51, 89
- Records: MBU (11-3), IIT (4-11), EC (6-13)
Illinois Tech (Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference): Early kills from five different Sabercats gave MBU the false impression that IIT was a pushover. After a 13-3 run from Maranatha, Illinois Tech was left reeling but the Scarlet Hawks rallied with a 14-2 run in the middle of the set as Maranatha had eight miscues. Just like that, the match was interesting again.
Undeterred by the change in momentum, the Sabercats ultimately held on for the 28-26 win. Gabrielle Carpenter and Karley Johnson closed out the set with back-to-back kills, and Maranatha breathed a collective sigh of relief.
From there, the Sabercats coasted to a 25-16 win in the second set. Maranatha rendered the IIT offense ineffective, as they limited the Scarlet Hawks to just seven kills in the frame. Once again, the Sabercats showcased their balanced attack in the early stages of the set, and they kept IIT guessing in the most lopsided set of the match.
But once again, the Scarlet Hawks regrouped. When it was 'do or die' in the third set, IIT put down 20 kills to propel a hard-earned 25-23 win. The loss left Maranatha frustrated, as they were on the cusp of another straight-set sweep.
The win came soon enough, however, as the Sabercats held off a late Illinois Tech charge to secure the match to the tune of 25-20. Claire Hansel ended the match with a kill, which was fitting because the Junior led the Sabercats with a stellar 16-kill, 16-dig performance.
Fueling everything was a 100-dig performance from the Sabercats' defense, who were forced to hit the century mark but rose to the occasion. Four different student-athletes tallied double-digit kills, as Hansel (16), McKenzie Janke (25), Karley Johnson (14), Kelsey Johnson (18), and Jessica Ureke (20) all put up double figures. The defense was scrappy and the attack was good enough to put up a 3-1 win over IIT and start the day off on the right foot.
Edgewood (Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference): The second match of the day may have been a 3-0 win for Maranatha but it wasn't easy. After going ahead 17-9 in the first set, the Sabercats had to deal with a 12-3 run from the determined hosts. Enter Kelsey Johnson, who took matters into her own hands late on. Two aces and a kill from the senior gave the Sabercats a crucial three-point run, and a set-deciding kill from Carpenter was a hammer blow to the resilient Eagles.
Once again, the Sabercats were the strongest in the second set of the match, posting a 25-17 win over Edgewood to take control. Maranatha was error-less on the attack, and they wore down the Eagles into committing 11 attack errors in the set.
The match ended with a riveting exchange, as the two teams traded prolonged momentum and eventually battled through a late tie. The Eagles had set point three straight times, but Maranatha weathered the storm all three times to hang on for a straight-set win.
After two scintillating matches inside the Todd Wehr Edgedome, Maranatha had what they came for in the back-to-back wins.
MBU Starters: 4- Hansel, 7- Janke, 9- Johnson, 10- Johnson, 12- Brimer, 17- Carpenter, 22- Ureke
- Hansel: 27 K, 22 D
- Karley: 13 K, 40 A, 27 D
- Kelsey: 22 K, 43 A, 23 D
- Janke: 47 D
- J. Ureke: 13 K, 26 D
- MBU: 56 K, 100 D in IIT match
- Series: Maranatha leads the all-time series with Edgewood 44-13
- Series: Maranatha leads the all-time series with IIT 6-0
The Sabercats will travel to Milwaukee for an 8:00 p.m. matchup with Mount Mary Tuesday night. Follow at mbusabercats.com/schedule.