WATERTOWN, Wis. -- Back on their home floor, the Sabercats stormed past Grace Christian today, finding an offensive and defensive rhythm in back-to-back wins.
It was a matter of having all parts of their game sharp, as the Sabercats rode the momentum of a well-balanced performance from start to finish.
- Maranatha 3-0 Grace Christian (25-22, 25-17, 27-25)
- Maranatha 3-1 Grace Christian (25-21, 16-25, 27-25, 25-17)
- Venue: Maranatha Baptist University
- Location: Watertown, Wis.
- Attendance: 176, 188
- Records: MBU (5-0), GCU (4-2)
Match One - The Sabercats had to fend off an improved and spirited Grace Tigers team, as they saw each set turn into a hard-fought battle. Maranatha earned their points, as they recorded double-digit kills in every set. Defensively, the Sabercats had four student-athletes with multiple blocks and the team picked up 65 digs in the match - it was a case of firing on all cylinders.
Claire Hansel had 13 kills to lead the attacking efforts. Caitrin Kemlo (seven kills), Regina Anderson, and Mattie Bumpus (six kills each) pitched in to support the attack as well. Emily Johnson did her part to help set up the Sabercats' 38 kills, and the Tigers kept the pressure on their hosts. That's when the Sabercats defense stepped up - Erica Ureke (19 digs), Johnson (13 digs), and Hansel (10 digs) all led the efforts for MBU, who ousted Grace after three hard-fought sets.
The final set was a thriller, as Maranatha held off the Tigers' onslaught to seal the sweep with a 27-25 win.
Match Two - The second match was all about grit, and the Sabercats had some in reserve. Grace Christian may have been down, but they got back up again and made the second match of the day an interesting one. Maranatha's attack cashed in for 18 kills in the opening set, and Hansel was leading the efforts from the front with 24 kills in the match. Johnson logged a career-high 43 assists, and determined defensive efforts from Ureke (28 digs), Johnson (18 digs, one block), Anderson (17 digs, two blocks), and Hansel (15 digs, two blocks) frustrated an otherwise sharp attack from GCU.
After the Tigers won the second set 25-16, the Sabercats had a gutsy comeback win to take the third set 27-25, then held on to take a 25-17 win in the final set. It was the finishing touches on a high-intensity afternoon, as the Sabercats took home two wins from a determined Grace Christian squad.
MBU Starters: 3- Johnson, 4- Hansel, 8-Bumpus, 11- Ureke, 22- Miller, 23-Anderson, 24- Rueb
STATS (two-match totals)
- Hansel: 27 K, 25 D
- Johnson: 31 D, (Assists TBA - stat corrections pending)
- Anderson: 9 K, 25 D
- Ureke: 47 D (includes a career-high 28 digs in match two)
- Kemlo: 21 K (includes a career-high 14 kills in match two)
- Series: Maranatha leads the all-time series against Grace Christian, 24-0
The Sabercats travel to Lansing, Michigan next Saturday to take on Great Lakes Christian and Grace Christian in a triangular beginning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. Follow at mbusabercats.com/schedule.