Back and Forth Battle

Photo credit: Kaitlyn Dobson
Photo credit: Kaitlyn Dobson

THE LEAD

WATERTOWN, Wis. -- On a humid afternoon at Maranatha, a bolstered Finlandia Lions squad tied the Sabercats, 2-2, after 110 minutes of competitive action.

Coming into today's game, the Sabercats had gone 6-0-0 against the Lions, including a 5-0 win last season. But that was against the old Finlandia.

THE OVERVIEW

  • Result: Maranatha 2-2 Finlandia (OT)
  • Venue: Maranatha Baptist University
  • Location: Watertown, Wis.
  • Attendance: 74
  • Records: MBU (3-4-1), FINNU (5-1-1)

THE STORY

Alexia Gonzales announced the Lions' intentions right away. In the fourth minute, Gonzales found space in the box and netted from about 12 yards out to put the Lions ahead by one. The Lions kept the pressure up, as they rattled off seven shots on Hannah Wells through the opening 20 minutes.

It took the Sabercats almost 40 minutes to get on the board. It was worth the wait, as Angel Steuerwald grabbed the first goal of her college career with a close-range finish. Alison Hernandez did the lion's share of the work, as she beat her defender on the left side of the box and chipped a perfect cross over the goalkeeper and into the path of Steuerwald, who went charging in to finish at the back post.

At halftime, it was a close game on the field, and it was deadlocked on the scoreboard. 1-1.

Just over 10 minutes into the second half, Hannah Evans made the most of the Sabercats' rejuvenated efforts. After a tee-up from Alexis Sponable, Evans hit a first-time shot from 22 yards out that nestled into the lower-left corner. After their slow start, the Sabercats had regained control.

Wells kept the Sabercats in front of the following few minutes, but the Lions tied it back up at the 65-minute mark when Kirsten L'Esperance jinked past two Sabercat defenders near the endline and smacked it in from close range.

The Sabercats came close in the final minutes, but no one could find the winner. Overtime.

L'Esperance almost abruptly ended the game in the first overtime period with a 30-yard cannon that crashed off the face of the crossbar. Five minutes later, Wells tipped a save off the post to deny Gonzales the game-winner, and on the ensuing corner kick, the Lions once again hit the crossbar. When the first OT period ended, the Sabercats had been saved by the clock.

Both teams came close, but no one found the winner in the final 10-minute bout. Fittingly, the closely battled game ended in a 2-2 tie.

THE STATS

  • Steuerwald: netted her 1st collegiate goal
  • Hernandez: 11th career set-up
  • Evans: scored her 2nd goal of the season
  • Cautions: the Sabercats received 1 yellow card while the Lions received 2
  • Series: Maranatha now leads the series, 6-0-1

THE OPPONENTS

  • The Lions are members of the American Collegiate Athletic Association
  • Finlandia just posted three straight wins against Lakeland, Alverno, and Wisconsin-Superior 
  • The Lions are a new team this season - this season they have five wins, matching the combined total of their last four years

THE OUTLOOK

The Sabercats will travel to Michigan to face Grace Christian University (formerly Grace Bible College) Friday at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Watch live at mbusabercats.com/composite.

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