Bluejays keep Bethel in their sight with two more wins

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Tabor College volleyball team defeated Bethany College at home Thursday, 30-19, 30-23, 30-22, as the Bluejays celebrated Parents Night before the match.

“I feel the women need to step up their play,” coach Amy Ratzlaff said. “We did win, but we’re not playing just to win. We’re playing to get better and I don’t feel like we got better in this match.

“We talk about playing just because we love the sport,” she added. “We won this match but did we really love playing in this match?”

Tabor was led by last week’s KCAC and Region IV player-of-the-week Lindsey Vogts, who spanked 11 kills and blocked eight Bethany hits.

“Lindsey had a great night, but all of the women did what they were expected to do,” Ratzlaff said. “But as a unit we had so much more to give.”

In all, Tabor recorded 41 kills for an attack percentage of .274.

Vogts registered 20 attacks and committed only one error.

Anne Gunden passed out 23 assists and Audrey Schellenberg added 15.

On defense, Tabor blocked 25 hits and recorded 73 digs. Jill Hein had 17 digs and Staci Whitcomb 11.

“We should have been taking better care of the ball offensively and causing less opportunities to hit at us,” Ratzlaff said. “So I would rather have not seen that many digs, because we should have been terminating the ball sooner.”

With the victory, Tabor remained just one game behind Bethel College with a conference mark of 12-1 and improved to 15-10 overall.

Sterling- The Bluejays rolled to a relatively easy home-court win over Sterling on Tuesday, 30-21, 30-16, 31-29.

“It went well,” coach Amy Ratzlaff said. “They didn’t have any kills on us the first game and only two in the second game.

“Our offense just didn’t give them a chance to get their offense set up,” she added. “But we did let up in the third game, which is something we have to continually work on.”

Tabor rallied from a 28-29 deficit in Game 3, a fact that didn’t escape Ratzlaff’s notice.

“That’s a huge positive for us,” she said. “We talk a lot about being the aggressor at the end of games and not the defender. I think we saw that for the first time against Newman and again in the Sterling match.”

Staci Whitcomb flexed her All-KCAC muscles at the net, recording 14 kills in 29 attacks for an overall percentage of .310. She also led Tabor with 13 digs and three blocks.

“For a long time in Staci’s career, her defense was a direct reflection of how her offense was going,” Ratzlaff said. “But she has matured so much as a player. Now she’s a solid part of our defense regardless of whether she gets to be an attacker in that particular game.”

As a team, Tabor put down 41 kills in the three-game match. Ashley Malcolm had eight kills in 15 attacks for a .467 percentage.

Lindsey Vogts, last week’s Region IV player-of-the-week, added six kills.

“Region IV player-of-the-week is quite an honor,” Ratzlaff said. “She had great stats and then the team did its job and beat Newman, so it really helped her. We’re excited about her winning that.”

Anne Gunden fueled the offense with 22 assists and Audrey Schellenberg added 11.

Defensively, Tabor hustled for 60 digs. Whitcomb led with 13, Traci Neufeld added 10 and Jill Hein eight.

Hein also contributed six blocks-one-third of Tabor’s 18 blocks. Eleven occurred in the opening game.

Coming-Tabor was scheduled to travel to Winfield on Tuesday to tangle with the struggling Southwestern Moundbuilders-0-12 in the KCAC-before getting a Thursday-night rematch with front-running Bethel Threshers in Hillsboro.

In addition to the battling for the conference lead, Tabor will honor four senior members of the squad: Jill Hein, Shannon Kroeker, Anne Gunden and Johannah Love.

Game time is set for 7 p.m.

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