Bluejays beat Bethel for 14th conference win

The Tabor College volleyball team claimed a near-complete stranglehold
on the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season title with
a 3-1 win over Bethel
(26-24, 25-16, 18-25, 25-18) Wednesday night in Hillsboro. The win was
Tabor's 14th of the conference season, and depending on how other games
across the conference turned out, the Bluejays will lead the conference
standings by two or three games with three nights of regular season
games remaining. Should Tabor finish in a tie with Friends or
Bethel?the second- and third-place teams, respectively?the Bluejays
will hold the head-to-head tiebreaker on account of having swept both
season series.

"Playing Bethel and Friends back to back at this part of the season was great for us," coach Amy Ratzlaff said. "We had to work hard, we had to push through, and we have had to take a look at what we need to do to be better for the tournament.? We see our strengths and our weaknesses more clearly and know it is time to go to work.? I believe the team sees each day as an opportunity to be better, and I believe this group will work hard to make it happen."

Tabor trailed the first game by a 7-2 margin early, largely because of
multiple attack errors. When the Bluejays stopped overshooting the back
line, the Threshers had a difficult time returning Tabor's volleys.
Ashley Cohlmia tied it at 10 and 11 with two vicious strikes, and Tabor
opened up its first lead with Jordan Crosson serving. Bethel rallied to
tie at 14-14 and led 20-18, but Tabor struck back with kills by
Courtney Janzen and Tina Frick, forcing a Bethel timeout. Frick and
Gina Hullet alternated kills on Tabor's points through 23-23, and
Hullet served for the win. Bethel attacked the right side of Tabor's
defense, but Janzen and Carly Kroeker stuffed the attempt and gave the
Bluejays a 1-0 lead in the match.

After a strong start from both teams in the second game, Bethel became
somewhat error-prone and slid from a 7-7 tie into a 14-10 disadvantage.
They did not recover, and trailed by as many as seven (18-11) and nine
(25-16) on the way to a 2-0 deficit. The Threshers overcame a 4-0
deficit in the third set, setting up game point at 24-16 on a block by
Alyssa Schrag and Christy Weems. After battling to a tie through half
of the fourth game, Bethel cracked after a hard kill by Crosson.
Crosson's kill made it 10-10, and the Bluejays rattled off three more
in a row, with Frick putting them ahead 13-10. The Bluejays rarely led
by less than three afterward. The game and the match ended on a kill by

Frick finished with a team-high 18 kills. Janzen had 10 and Cohlmia had eight. Four Bluejays had four or more blocks: Hullet with six (one solo),? Cohlmia with five (one solo) and Kroeker and Janzen had four apiece. Setter Mandi Phillips averaged 11.75 assists per game.

Coming?Tabor (14-1, 17-8 overall) will play two matches in a triangular
with Oklahoma Baptist and Bethany (6-8, 9-20) Saturday morning in
Lindsborg. Then, on Tuesday (Nov. 3), the Bluejays get their chance to
avenge the only loss they have suffered at the hands of a conference
opponent when Ottawa (6-7, 11-17) travels to Hillsboro. Tabor closes
regular season play with a visit from Saint Mary (6-9, 9-15) on
Thursday (Nov. 5). The post-season tournament is set to start Nov. 10.

"We were ready for a rematch against Ottawa the minute we drove away
from that campus," Ratzlaff said.
"I don't think I will have to motivate the team to
play hard on Tuesday night!"

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