Written by AO Tuesday, 11 November 2008 15:46
The Tabor College volleyball team got off to a slow start in the first game, but finished Tuesday's win over Saint Mary (20-25, 28-26, 25-17, 25-16) with a flourish.
Saint Mary played nearly flawlessly at the outset, with nearly every Spires point ending in a hard-hit kill. Even so, Tabor led 10-7 on a kill by Gina Hullet . Saint Mary rallied to knot it at 11-11 on a block by Carolyn Geschwill, and took the lead on another. Tabor re-tied the game at 13 and 15, but lost three straight points, prompting a Bluejays timeout at 15-18. The Spires were unable to extend their lead until they won what was probably the night's longest rally point to make it 18-24.
During the second game, Tabor led 7-5, but slid into a 7-10 hole. Coming out of a time out, Hullet broke the Spires rhythm with a hard-hit kill, but Saint Mary continued to lead by four, frustrating the Bluejays and eventually forcing game point at 20-24 on a dubious line call. After regaining their focus during a timeout Tabor won four straight points to extend the game. Jordan Crosson started the run with a cross-court laser beam, and Mandi Phillips stepped in to serve. Phillips notched an ace to make it 22-24, and force a passing error to cut it to one. After a timeout, Phillips' scored with her serve again to tie the game.
Saint Mary went to senior hitter Ashton McMillan to break the run, and McMillan's attack pinballed between the Bluejay blockers to, for a moment, stem the rising tide. But Tabor took the next point, and Crosson made it 26-25 with a hard hit that caromed out of bounds off of the Spires blockers. Saint Mary called for time and tied the game at 26-26, but Crosson hammered another kill for Tabor's 27th point of the game. Clancey Kelley capped the comeback with her serve—a tumbling strike that fooled Spires libero Mary Ann Snyder.
After falling behind 8-12, Tabor won the third in a walk. Middle blocker Heather Witham won a joust to end a run of three straight Saint Mary points, but the Bluejays did not mount their charge until Ashley Cohlmia's serve. Cohlmia ran off eight consecutive points, with kills by Crosson and Hullet sprinkled into her mix of ace serves. Saint Mary snapped out of it at 19-15, but Audrey Schellenberg forced game point with her serve.
Having taken a 2-1 lead in the match, Tabor dominated the fourth game. The Bluejays trailed for a moment at 1-2, but got even on a kill by Carly Kroeker and never looked back, building a 7-4 lead that expanded to 11-5 during Cohlmia's serve. Colhmia's kill at 19-11 forced a Spires time out, but Saint Mary's ensuing run brought them no closer than 19-15. Witham snapped that streak and also recorded the 22-15 score. Witham scored again to make it 24-16, and Colhmia blasted one more ace to end the match.
Up next, Tabor faces Bethany at 5 p.m. Friday at the Bethel College gym. The tournament championship will be played at 7 p.m. Sunday.