WATERTOWN, Wis. -- It had to come against Moody, as the Sabercats out-fought the Archers for their first win of the 2018 season.
- Result: Maranatha 2-1 Moody
- Venue: Maranatha Baptist University
- Location: Watertown, Wis.
- Attendance: 158
- Records: MBU (1-8-0), MBI (0-6-0)
The matchup needed no introduction, as the Maranatha-Moody series always yields excitement and drama. Today's edition was no exception.
The Archers looked to be the more dangerous team in the early goings, as they took 11 shots at the MBU goal in the first half alone. Only three were directed goal-wards, and Andrew Taylor was alert on each attempt to keep the sheet clean for Maranatha. Tyler Nelson came the closest for MBU at the other end, but the junior's far-post attempt bounced just wide of the Archers' goal. It was an exciting half with goal-scoring chances, but both teams entered halftime without a goal to their name.
Just 11 minutes into the second half, the breakthrough came. And what a breakthrough.
After Andrew Ice sent a ball towards the top of the box from the left wing, Nathan Campbell touched it backwards into the path of a hard-running Nelson, who drove a textbook volley off the underside of the crossbar and across the line for a spectacular opener. 1-0 Maranatha.
The Archers' reply came just under 20 minutes later, as Juan Soler lumbered up from his center-back position to insert his chance into the back of the MBU goal. Tie game.
Just when the Archers had momentum, the Sabercats bounced back. Austin DeAngelo sent a teasing cross into the Moody penalty area, and after Nelson challenged for it, the ball fell to the feet of Bryant Sturgill at the back post. The rookie made no mistake. As the goalkeeper came out, Sturgill smashed his finish high into the net for his first collegiate goal.
The freshman picked a great time to notch his first collegiate tally, as it proved to be the difference-maker in the end. The Archers had the energy for one final push, but Dani Martinez's last-ditch effort was comfortably saved by Taylor to secure a hard-earned win on the MBU campus.
- Shot count: the Archers held a 17-6 advantage in shots
- Cautions: both teams received a yellow card
- Taylor: made 6 saves in the win
- Liam Clinch: fired 4 shots for the Archers
- Series: Moody now leads the historic series, 31-14
- The Archers are members of the NCCAA North Region along with MBU
- Moody has yet to find their first win this season
- MBI suffered one-goal defeats to Rockford (NACC) and Grace Christian (NCCAA DII Mideast) earlier this season
- Moody has won the NCCAA DII title five times, the most recent coming in 2013
The Sabercats will travel to Rockford University next week for a 4:00 p.m. matchup Thursday at the Sportscore Complex. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.