GREENVILLE, S.C. (November 14, 2015) — The Bob Jones University Lady Bruins stormed the field in celebration after the team captured its second Natinoal Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Title with a 1-0 victory over #1 seed Maranatha Baptist University on Saturday, Nov. 14.
“Every player, past and present, shares in our success as a program and we are humbled to bring home another banner,” Coach Chris Carmichael said. “God has been very good to our program and to Him we give the glory of any success that we have had.”
The Bruins came into the game after storming through group play with a 6-0 victory over Dallas Christian College and a 5-0 victory over Kentucky Christian University. They knew they would have to beat the best as they took the pitch against the #1 seeded Maranatha Baptist University Sabercats, who had been ranked number one in the country for a majority of the 2015 season. The Sabercats had won their two matches in pool play and were looking to avenge a 2014 loss in the NCCAA DII national title game.
From the opening kickoff, the Bruins continued to do what they have done all season long in controlling possession. The team got an opportunity early on as Kaitlyn Hummel fired a shot on frame but it was tipped wide. The Bruins continued to work the ball into the attacking third using good combination play. In the 16th minute of play, Paige Englehart sent a centering pass into the middle to the feet of Mimi Lozano who turned and passed the ball to Abby Davis ahead of the defense. Davis struck a well-placed shot into the opposite corner to put the Bruins up 1-0. The team continued to pressure the net, while the Bruins defense thwarted each Sabercat opportunity. At the half, the Bruins held a 1-0 lead with just 45 minutes standing between them and a national title.
In the second half, the Sabercats were looking to claw their way back into the game. The Bruins continued to keep MBU at bay as the defense marked each player and turned aside each attack. Bruins’ keeper Kristen Haertlein made several key saves to keep the Sabercats off the board. Offensively, the Bruins continued to move the ball up the field, but focused more on possession than on full attack. With just minutes remaining, the dream started to become more of a reality with each tick off the clock. This is what the team had worked so hard for. This was the culmination of the long practices, the ups and downs of the season and the perseverance through thick and thin. As the final buzzer rang, the Bruins players and coaches poured onto the field in celebration as the team had defeated the Sabercats 1-0.
“Maranatha played us really well and had a number of opportunities. My hats off to their coaching staff and players for having a great tournament and playing us very well,” Coach Carmichael said. “This was a team effort through regionals and Nationals and a culmination of many hours of hard work, and keeping the unity and team vision to get through some challenging times this season,” Coach Carmichael said. “A special congratulations to our senior strength in Jenn Wise, Spencer Martin and Tessie Estrella. In my book all three are all-American players and there isn’t another player I would rather have then these three. They are going to be missed in a big way and this is a great send off to three special players. We are honored to have won this national championship.”
Mimi Lozano was named the tournaments most-valuable player and Jenn Wise, Kristen Haertlein and Tessie Estrella were named to the All-Tournament team. The Bruins captured their 2nd national title in the past three seasons. Above all, they showed a perseverance and tenacity that is special in the realm of athletic competition. The season began with lofty expectations for this team, but despite the setbacks of losses and injury, the team continued to press on with the goal of getting back to the top. Now, the team can look back on this season with a sense of pride as they reclaim their position at the top as NCCAA DII National Champions.
—This post was written by BJU Bruins Sports Information Director Jonny Gamet and appeared on the BJU Bruins website.