Bluejay volleyball team finishes tough preseason schedule

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Tabor College volleyball team finished with a 2-3 record at the Newman University tournament in Wichita with weekend, having battled some of the premiere teams in the Midwest.

On Friday and Saturday morning, Tabor complete pool play with a 1-2 record.

In the opening match, Tabor defeated Newman, formerly ranked 22nd in the nation and No. 5 in Region IV, by scores of 23-30, 30-27, 24-30, 30-23, 15-9.

“That is huge,” coach Amy Ratzlaff said of the win. “We haven’t done that since I’ve been here in five years.”

In their second match, the Bluejays lost to Hastings College, ranked eighth in Region IV, 17-30, 22-30, 19-30.

On Saturday morning, Tabor lost William Penn of Iowa, ranked third in Region VII, 22-30, 21-30 and 26-30.

In tournament play on Saturday, Tabor seeded fourth in its pool, defeated Missouri Valley, seeded first in the opposite pool. The Bluejays upset their opponent in four games, 30-27, 25-30, 30-26, 12-30.

“That was a good thing because we needed a win,” Ratzlaff said.

Tabor then lined up again against Hastings College, but was defeated, 20-30, 25-30, 12-30 to end its tournament run.

“The best thing that came out of this weekend was that my entire bench got to play,” Ratzlaff said. “But it didn’t matter who was in there or what lineup I used, it was exciting to see how the women all stepped up and did their jobs.

“They were all what I expected from varsity players,” she added. “I know I can count on any one of them at any time, and that’s a great feeling.”

Ratzlaff said the preseason schedule is now complete, but it was brutal.

“Of the first 10 teams we played, seven of them have been either ranked nationally or regionally,” she said. “I know the women feel like they’re ready for conference play.

“We played some really tough competition and did well with that.”

Bethel match-Tabor began defense of its Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championship last Wednesday by hosting and defeating the Bethel Threshers in a hard-fought match, 24-30, 30-27, 30-22, 23-30, 15-11.

After losing the opening game, Tabor trailed 15-22 in the second game before rallying to outscore the Threshers 15-3 the remainder of the contest.

“Winning that second match was a necessity if we wanted to win that match,” coach Amy Ratzlaff said. “I think it was more a matter of the women realizing they had to put their nerves aside and play.”

With the match tied 2-2, Tabor trailed the Threshers 3-5 in the decisive fifth game before surging to a 12-8 lead and holding on for the four-point win.

“The first home match and a big crowd just put the nerves on edge,” Ratzlaff said. “Our crowd was great and it meant a lot to the women-they really helped us at the end.”

Coming-Tabor reentered conference play Tuesday against Kansas Wesleyan and will travel to Ottawa this weekend. Tabor’s season record is 3-8.

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