Show Time for MCC Fall Sports

By Mark Janssen

It’s show time for the Manhattan Christian College fall sports. As the old cliché goes, you win, or you pack up the gear and await another year.

The regular Midwest Christian College Conference has been completed with the Thunder men’s soccer team winning the championship, while the volleyball team earned a second-place finish.

Receiving a first-round bye this weekend’s postseason conference tournament in Joplin, Mo., the Thunder kickers will play the winner of Barclay and Calvary on Friday in the MCCC semi-finals, while the championship match will take place Saturday.

Playing in Dubuque, Iowa, the MCC volleyballers also earned a first-round postseason tournament bye and will face the winner of Faith Baptist Bible College and Ozark Christian on Friday. Again, the title game awaits on Saturday.

As for next week’s Southwest Region action, the MCC soccer team is seeded No. 4 and will be in action in a play-in game to the Region’s Final Four. That action will be against Barclay on Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Anneberg Park. The winner advances to Dallas, Texas, where No. 1 seeded Randall will serve as the opponent. Randall is ranked No. 7 in the national polls with an 8-6-2 record.

The Thunder volleyball team has secured a No. 3 seed at the Southwest Region where Randall will be favored to win with a No. 2 national ranking with a 20-11 record.

New this year at MCC is that for a Thunder team to accept an At-Large Bid to the National Tournament this year in Greenville, S.C., on Nov. 17-18-19, they must meet at least three of the following four standards:

1. Finish 1st or 2nd in Midwest Christian College Conference Regular Season

2. Appear in the Midwest Christian College Conference Tournament Championship game/match or be the No. 1 seed tournament
3. Appear in the Regional Championship game/match or be the No. 1 seed in the tournament

4. Won 65% of games/matches against NCCAA II & ACCA schools




Coach Rick Wright’s kickers stubbed their cleats last week losing to Dallas Christian, 3-0, and to Randall University, 4-2, to fall to 7-7 for the year.

While disappointed in the outcomes, Wright reasoned, “It’s better to have screwed up last week than this week, or next week. It seems like most teams stumble at some point during the season and ours came last week.”

On the flip side, Wright has been more than pleased to come through the regular season unblemished in conferences matches against Ozark Christian (4-1), Faith (2-1), Calvary (6-1), Emmaus (5-1) and Barclay (4-2).

“I’m pleased to have been undefeated with a fairly young team, but there were too many close matches,” said Wright. “I think we will win the tournament, but you have to go out and do it. Nothing is a given. We’ve been a team that has struggled scoring at times, which makes it tough to come back if we get down early. That’s what happened last week.”

In their 14 matches this season, MCC scored zero or one goal six times, and two goals in two other matches.

While dropping out of the national polls for the first time that Wright can remember, he says, “We had a team meeting Monday and I think they believe they can do it (win conference tournament).”

As for headliners this season, Wright pointed to freshman Jack Hinderliter, plus Gabe Awbrey and Aaron Matthews.


Coach Lauren Sanders says all the pieces to the puzzle are on this 2017 volleyball team, but adds, “While we’re very talented, we do lack experience in the high-pressure games. We have one good set, but then fall apart in the next set. We have shown we can play volleyball at a high level, but we need to show we can play at that level over a longer period of time.”

The Thunder volleyball team sports a 12-9 record through regular season play, which includes a second-place 4-1 mark in Midwest Christian College Conference play. That one loss was to Emmaus Bible College on the debut night to the Howie’s Activity Center.

“We were so horrible in that match,” Sanders reflected of the 3-0 loss. “We’d love to play them again.”

No. 1 seeded Emmaus finished the year 5-0 in the league and 18-2 for the year.

In the other four league matches, MCC swept Calvary and Ozark Christian, defeated Faith Bible College, 3-1, and Barclay, 3-2.

“We’ve really focused lately on unity and team work,” sand Sanders. “When we struggle, we start to turn on ourselves and stop playing as a team. One person does not win in volleyball. You have to be united and stick together.”

Sanders pointed to Carly Gibbs, Mary Frances McNillis, Tess Eblin, Greta Hinderliter and Katherine Simon as candidates for all-league recognition. McNillis is a junior while the rest are sophomores.

MCC has played the best competition available during the course of the season as Randall is ranked No. 2 in the nation, Arlington Baptist No. 6 and Emmaus No. 9 in the latest polls.

In looking forward to the Southwest Region Tournament in Dallas next weekend, Sanders said, “It’s tough. Randall is way up there, while there are three or four of us down a level. We’ll have to play at our best”

MCC Scoreboard

3/13/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 4 Grace Bible College | L, 77-61 
3/11/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 7 Southeastern Bible College | W, 83-73 
3/10/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 3 Johnson University-Tennessee | L, 97-92 (2OT)
2/25/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 2s Arlington Baptist College | L, 88-81 
2/20/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 1 Barclay College | W, 109-90