Twice Shy

Photo credit: Lauren Stoner
Photo credit: Lauren Stoner

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- In a scintillating rematch of last year's national championship, the Sabercats had their hearts broken at the hands of Bob Jones for the second year in a row.

The #1-seeded BJU Bruins defended their home floor with a gritty 3-1 win, securing their second consecutive national title after a noteworthy season.


  • Result: #2 Maranatha 1-3 #1 Bob Jones (17-25, 18-25, 25-23, 22-25)
  • Venue: Davis Field House, Bob Jones University
  • Location: Greenville, S.C.
  • Attendance: 557
  • Competition: NCCAA DII National Championship
  • Records: MBU (26-6), BJU (35-4)


#1 Bob Jones (South Region Champions): The first set was defined by runs, as the Bruins answered a 3-0 statement from MBU with a 12-3 run of their own, taking a 12-6 lead to grab the momentum. BJU called the shots at the net, limiting Maranatha to hitting just two percent as the Bruins seemed to be just one step ahead of Maranatha. After a high-energy opening set, the Bruins took the 1-0 advantage in the match with a 25-17 win.

The Sabercats were just a step behind in the second set, as they seemed to be flat-footed defensively. BJU took what seemed to be an effortless 14-7 lead, as they seemed to land everything right in the gaps of the MBU defense. A big swing from Gabrielle Carpenter and a kill from Jessica Ureke after a long volley gave Maranatha some momentum late in the set, pulling the score to 16-20, but Bob Jones refused to loosen their grip on the match. Late kills from the Bruins gave them a 25-18 win in the second set, and just like that, memories of last year's championship came flooding back. BJU was on the verge of the repeat.

But Maranatha showed their experience and resolve in the next set, swinging themselves out to an 11-4 lead. The Bruins capitalized on some errors at the net from Maranatha, and when Emma Riddle slammed down a kill to make it 16-12, Regina DeLozier was forced to call another timeout. Two Bruins points later, Carpenter had a kill to stop the bleeding, and a huge kill from Claire Hansel after a long volley helped give Maranatha a 21-17 lead. A sturdy block from Ureke and Carpenter and a kill from Kelsey Johnson ended a set that seemed to last forever, and the Sabercats had climbed their way back into the match, winning 25-23 to extend the championship.

The Bruins' performance in the final set was worthy of a national title. Maranatha looked to be tying the match, going ahead 22-17 in the fourth frame, but a high-energy run of 8-0 lifted the Bruins to the top of the set, the match, and the nation for the second year in a row.


This was the final match for Maranatha's six seniors: McKenzie Janke, Karley Johnson, Kelsey Johnson, Allyson Brimer, Gabrielle Carpenter, and Jessica Ureke all see their careers end after making it back to the title match in every season they played.

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


  • Hansel: 12 K
  • Kelsey: 11 K
  • Brook Beaver: led everyone with 21 K and 21 D for Bob Jones
  • All-Tournament Team: Hansel and Kelsey Johnson were given all-tournament honors 
  • Last time: Bob Jones beat Maranatha 3-0 in last year's National Championship
  • Series: BJU now leads the series 2-1


The Sabercats conclude the season with a record of 26-6 after their fifth consecutive trip to the NCCAA DII title match. A full recap of the season will be coming at 

Twice Honored
December 13, 2019 Twice Honored
Lofty Standards
December 13, 2019 Lofty Standards
Twice Around for Johnson
December 1, 2019 Twice Around for Johnson
Best of the Best
November 27, 2019 Best of the Best
Twice Shy
November 22, 2019 Twice Shy
Keeping it Going
November 21, 2019 Keeping it Going
Setting it Up
November 21, 2019 Setting it Up
Getting it Started
November 20, 2019 Getting it Started
Revenge Ready
November 16, 2019 Revenge Ready
Johnson Shines On
November 11, 2019 Johnson Shines On
The Best in the North
November 9, 2019 The Best in the North
Two of the Best
November 9, 2019 Two of the Best
Top of the North
November 9, 2019 Top of the North
Step One
November 8, 2019 Step One
Sizing up the Semis
November 7, 2019 Sizing up the Semis
Happy Ending
November 2, 2019 Happy Ending
Back-to-Back Battles
November 1, 2019 Back-to-Back Battles
Perfect Seven
October 26, 2019 Perfect Seven
Red-Hot Rampage
October 22, 2019 Red-Hot Rampage
Wire to Wire
October 19, 2019 Wire to Wire
Quick Work
October 15, 2019 Quick Work
Sticking Together
October 12, 2019 Sticking Together
Triple Trouble
October 8, 2019 Triple Trouble
Three in a Row
October 8, 2019 Three in a Row
Triangular Trouncing
October 5, 2019 Triangular Trouncing
Johnson at the Top
October 1, 2019 Johnson at the Top
All Good Things
October 1, 2019 All Good Things
Hansel Honored
September 30, 2019 Hansel Honored
Nine Lives
September 28, 2019 Nine Lives
Straight Eight
September 27, 2019 Straight Eight
Seven Up
September 24, 2019 Seven Up
Six Straight
September 20, 2019 Six Straight
Counter Punch
September 17, 2019 Counter Punch
A Nod for Johnson
September 16, 2019 A Nod for Johnson
Broom Time in Rockford
September 14, 2019 Broom Time in Rockford
Sweeping Start
September 13, 2019 Sweeping Start
So Close Yet So Far
September 7, 2019 So Close Yet So Far
One for One
September 6, 2019 One for One
Maranatha Memories
August 31, 2019 Maranatha Memories
Just the Facts
August 23, 2019 Just the Facts
Regional Hosts Announced
June 13, 2019 Regional Hosts Announced