TC volleyball battles top teams

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERICA FAST
The Tabor volleyball team took a huge step forward this week, proving that they can play with any team in the KCAC conference.



The Bluejays battled hard with Bethel on Tuesday, Oct. 24, then traveled to Ottawa on Thursday.



Tuesday was a huge match for the Jays, taking top-ranked Bethel to five games. Tabor fought hard, but still fell short. Bethel has not been beaten in conference play for the last two years, but the Bluejays were able to challenge that claim.



Tabor did not come out strong, though, letting Bethel take the first two games, 5-15, 5-15.



But in the third game, the women came out playing some phenomenal volleyball. They took the third and fourth games, 15-6, 15-7.



In the fifth game, a small error here and there cost them the a close match, 13-15.



“It was a heartbreaker; we really wanted that game,” said coach Amy Ratzlaff. “But I feel like we played a super match. And to be able to play with the top team in the conference that well, I know that was a big step for us.”



Ratzlaff said the match gave her team confidence in their ability to compete.



Tesha Werth had a huge night, with two aces, 20 digs and 31 kills. Audrey Loewen finished with 10 kills and five blocks, while Angela Kroeker added another 13 kills.



Laurie Fast had a strong defensive night, coming up with 32 serve receives and 16 digs. Carmen Hein contributed 26 good passes, while Sara Haggard set up her team with 57 assists.



The momentum from Tuesday’s game carried over to Thursday when the women traveled to Ottawa. Tabor took care of the Braves in three games 15-3, 15-12, 15-6.



Ratzlaff was pleased with the way the Jays performed, saying Ottawa never had a chance to get in the ball game.



When they saw Ottawa last time, the Jays took the match to five, but lost at the end.



“This time when we played Ottawa, we took care of business,” Ratzlaff said. “I think it’s the first game where we really came out fired up ready to win.”



Ratzlaff said blocking and defense played a key role in this week’s success.



Loewen had five blocks for the night while Laura Campbell contributed four. Other stats for the night included 24 digs and 18 kills from Werth. Morissa Seidl had 13 digs.



Loewen also had a phenomenal night offensively. She put down 14 kills in only 19 attempts, meaning that almost everything she touched was converted to points.



Ratzlaff also mentioned some help from her bench. Rachelle Speers and Sara Janzen came in to help win the game for Tabor.



To have such a good week of volleyball at this point in the season should mean good things for the Bluejays, Ratzlaff said.



“Hopefully, we’re just hitting our peak now and that will continue through the next two weeks as we play the rest of our season,” she said.



For her efforts, Werth received KCAC “Player-of-the-Week” honors for the second time this season.



For the week, the 5-7 senior from Hillsboro had 49 kills and only five errors on 111 attempts, three service aces, 45 digs, one solo block and three assist-blocks.



Tabor traveled Monday to Wichita to take on Friends University. On Thursday they will play host to McPherson, with the junior varsity starting at 6 p.m. and the varsity at 7 p.m.

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