The End of the Road

The End of the Road
LEAD

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- For the third year in a row, the Sabercats have fallen to Bob Jones University at the NCCAA DII National Tournament.

A 3-1 loss in today's national semifinal marks the end of the 2020 season for the Sabercats, who finish with a 19-5 record and two consecutive heartbreaking losses.

OVERVIEW

  • Results: #1 Maranatha 1-3 #2 Bob Jones (22-25, 14-25, 25-21, 18-25)
  • Venue: Davis Field House, Bob Jones University
  • Location: Greenville, S.C.
  • Event: NCCAA DII National Semifinal
  • Attendance: 162
  • Records: MBU (19-5), BJU (15-6)

STORY

The national semifinal match is typically rife with nervousness, but both teams came out with some free swinging, making it a high-energy offensive battle right out of the gate. Maranatha had a hard time dealing with Brooke Beaver and Victoria Glaze at the net, as the BJU captains swung their team into an 18-14 lead. Cue the Sabercats' hitters. Claire HanselMattie Bumpus, and Caitrin Kemlo hit over, around, and even right through the Bruins blockers, and the Sabercats tied the set at 19, forcing Coach Vickie Denny to call a Bruins timeout. That timeout was just the breather that Bob Jones needed, however, as they surged ahead at the end to win an exciting opener 25-22.

The second set was hard-fought and tight-knit in the early going, but the Bruins muffled the Sabercats' cries for the lead. The Bruins' defense was tight and organized, and their attack was free-flowing and determined. With a 25-14 win in the second set, it looked like Bob Jones was heading for the same scoreline they created last year. The Sabercats were fighting to keep their season alive.

The third frame was a story of momentum swings, and the Sabercats seemed to be getting it to swing in their favor at just the right times. Down 14-8 at one point, the Sabercats ground their way back in front with a 9-2 run, building their first significant lead of the match. Strong play at the net made the difference in the end. The Sabercats' big three hitters put down big kills at big times and picked up some key blocks, and Maranatha finally had the reward they had fought for.

The fourth set was cagey at the start, then Bob Jones began to build a lead that seemed menacing. But Maranatha answered the Bruins' 14-12 lead with a key 4-1 run, forcing another BJU timeout. Once again, the breather did its job, as a 3-0 run out of the timeout put the Bruins up 18-16. From there, the Bruins had the win in sight, the support of the crowd behind them, and the momentum of two consecutive national championships to fuel a four-set win.

The Sabercats left it all on the line, make no mistake about it. But the Bruins were battle-tested, entrenched in their position atop Division II, and eager to match Maranatha's recent achievement of three consecutive national titles.

Senior Claire Hansel finishes her four-year Maranatha career with outstanding achievements and statistics: 1,325 kills (fifth all-time for the program), 1,097 digs, 138 blocks, 133 aces, and a career attack percentage of .219. Hansel is a three-time NCCAA All-American and a National Player of the Year, and her absence will have an impact. 

MBU Starters: 3- Johnson, 4- Hansel, 8- Bumpus, 11- Ureke (L), 14- Kemlo, 23- Anderson, 24- Rueb

STATS 

  • Hansel: 10 K, 14 D
  • Kemlo: 16 K (career-high)
  • Emily Johnson: 29 A, 11 D
  • Erica Ureke: 19 D
  • MBU: 37 K, 64 D
  • Series: Bob Jones now leads the series 3-1

NEXT

The Sabercats' 2020 season ends here. A full recap of the season will be coming soon at mbusabercats.com.

The End of the Road
November 20, 2020 The End of the Road
This Means More
November 19, 2020 This Means More
Through Pool Play
November 19, 2020 Through Pool Play
Hansel Honored
November 18, 2020 Hansel Honored
More History Made
November 18, 2020 More History Made
Fast Start
November 18, 2020 Fast Start
Inside Pool A
November 17, 2020 Inside Pool A
Third Shuffle
November 16, 2020 Third Shuffle
Second Shuffle
November 13, 2020 Second Shuffle
Nationals Field Adjusted
November 11, 2020 Nationals Field Adjusted
Reclaim the Fame
November 8, 2020 Reclaim the Fame
Champs Again
November 7, 2020 Champs Again
The Best in the North
November 6, 2020 The Best in the North
Schedule Shuffle
November 5, 2020 Schedule Shuffle
Title Defense: Targeted
November 2, 2020 Title Defense: Targeted
Eligibility Extended
October 29, 2020 Eligibility Extended
Three More
October 26, 2020 Three More
Different Day, Same Story
October 24, 2020 Different Day, Same Story
Senior Night Celebrations
October 23, 2020 Senior Night Celebrations
Traveling Trifecta
October 19, 2020 Traveling Trifecta
North Region Routs
October 17, 2020 North Region Routs
Home Again, Home Again
October 10, 2020 Home Again, Home Again
Two for Hansel
September 28, 2020 Two for Hansel
Win Streak Reset
September 26, 2020 Win Streak Reset
300 for DeLozier
September 23, 2020 300 for DeLozier
Perfect Seven
September 19, 2020 Perfect Seven
Two for the Show
September 14, 2020 Two for the Show
Two for Two
September 12, 2020 Two for Two
Spikefest Champs
September 5, 2020 Spikefest Champs
Back with a Win
September 4, 2020 Back with a Win
Prepared to Prepare
September 3, 2020 Prepared to Prepare
New Look
September 3, 2020 New Look
Nostalgia and "Normality"
August 31, 2020 Nostalgia and "Normality"
Fall Schedule Updates
July 27, 2020 Fall Schedule Updates