Setting it Up

Photo credit: Julia Wall
Photo credit: Julia Wall
LEAD

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Sabercats have soundly eliminated the Southwest Region Champions and are on their way to their fifth consecutive national championship.

With a 3-1 win over #5 Arlington Baptist, the Sabercats will face the #1-seeded Bob Jones University Bruins tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. Eastern for a rematch of last year's national championship.

OVERVIEW

  • Result: #2 Maranatha 3-0 #5 Arlington (16-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-17)
  • Venue: Davis Field House, Bob Jones University
  • Location: Greenville, S.C.
  • Attendance: 185
  • Competition: NCCAA DII National Semifinal
  • Records: MBU (26-5), ABU (20-8)

STORY

#5 Arlington (Southwest Region Champions): The Patriots attacked at a rate of .390 in the opening set, and they stifled the Sabercats attack. The Patriots' big block kept Maranatha to hitting just .090 in the opener, and the Sabercats were handed a lopsided loss to ask questions of their resolve.

The Sabercats answered the question.

In the next set, Maranatha stormed ahead, swinging with conviction and defending with alacrity. The Sabercats went on a 12-0 run in the middle of the set, as they wore the Patriots down and were polished from start to finish, winning 25-17 to turn the tables on their Texan opponents.

The Sabercats were in rhythm, and there was no simply stopping them.

An offense led by Kelsey JohnsonJessica Ureke, and Gabrielle Carpenter was swinging at full capacity, and the Sabercats once again seemed to be everywhere at once on defense, limiting the Arlington efforts in the third set. Arlington seemed at a loss for answers under the constant stress from the Sabercats, as Maranatha fired on all cylinders in the 25-18 win.

From there, the win was inevitable, and it came in the very next set. The Sabercats simply would not let up, posting a match-high 16 kills to finish the job. Maranatha got sharper and sharper with their passing as the match matured, as they were able to pick their spots in the final set of the day to cruise to a four-set win. 

That first-set loss seemed to be a distant memory by the end of the night, as the Sabercats' inexorable three-set tear sent the Patriots packing and the Sabercats into the National Championship. 

By the end of the night, Karley Johnson had racked up a triple-double (her second of the season) and Kelsey had finished the night with nine kills, a near-career-high 29 assists, and 17 digs.

MBU Starters: 4- Hansel, 7- Janke, 9- Johnson, 10- Johnson, 12- Brimer, 17-Carpenter, 22- Ureke

STATS

  • Hansel: 14 K, 9D
  • Karley: 11K, 18A, 11D 
  • Kelsey: 9K, 29A, 17D
  • Carpenter: 11K
  • Ureke: 7K 11D
  • Last time: Maranatha beat Arlington 3-0 in pool play last year at Nationals
  • Series: MBU leads the series 5-0

NEXT

The Sabercats have advanced to their fifth consecutive NCCAA DII National Championship and will face #1 Bob Jones University in a rematch of the 2018 title match. The first serve is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow. Stay up to date at mbusabercats.com/schedule.

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