Ankeny, Iowa -- The Sabercats got off to a winning start to the 2017 season, as they topped the Eagles of Faith Baptist Bible College by a score of 3-1 in Ankeny, Iowa. Freshman Alexis Sponable was the primary difference-maker for the Sabercats, as she recorded all 3 goals for MBU on the day.
- Result: Sabercats 3-1 Eagles
- Venue: Pyche Field
- Attendance: 40
- Sabercats: now 1-0
Halfway through the first half, the Sabercats put themselves on the board through the right foot of Sponable, who debuted in style after collecting a pass from Alyssa Wright. Sponable's effort hit the back of the net and the Sabercats were up 1-0.
The Eagles equalized against the run of play and scored with just one of their three first-half shots. The goal came 13 minutes after Sponable's strike, and it was Lyndi Shepard who scored for the hosts with 8 minutes left in the first half.
The score remained tied entering halftime despite constant pressure from the Sabercats. MBU remained in control of the game throughout the first half, and amassed 17 shots in the opening 45 minutes.
The second half was a cagey one for the most part, as the scoring chances decreased both ways. The Eagles seemed like they were knocking on the door late on, but Sponable changed the game once again when she evaded two Eagle defenders in the box, cut in from the left side, and buried the ball in the back of the net beyond the diving goalkeeper, Aubree Smith. Thanks to Sponable's pressure-relieving goal, the Sabercats were up 2-1 with 10 minutes left.
Just 4 minutes later, Sponable completed the dream debut and sealed the win for the Sabercats. After an organized build-up play from Maranatha, the freshman's awareness allowed her to turn into the open space behind her at the top of the box. With a well-placed shot into the bottom-left corner, Sponable netted her hat-trick and stamped the insurance policy on the opening win for MBU.
From then on, the Sabercats stayed organized defensively and held the hosts scoreless through the final 6 minutes.
Hannah Anderson recorded 6 saves in the win, and the Sabercats dominated the game offensively by firing off 30 shots to the Eagles' 9.
"I thought Faith was much improved in their organization today," stated Coach David Anderson after the game. "They presented a real challenge for us and we had to be sharp in the back. I'm proud of our girls for staying patient throughout the game, for creating good chances, and for finishing our late chances to grab the win. I think Alexis Sponable showed real promise today with her composure on the ball. She gives us a true target up top. Now we must turn around quickly and get ready for a tough test with Central tomorrow."
The Sabercats' next test will be tomorrow against the Dutch of Central College in Pella, Iowa. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at CC's Kuyper Athletic Complex.
You can find live coverage information and directions at the Sabercats' composite calendar.