Five-game win keeps TC undefeated

The Tabor College volleyball team improved its conference-leading undefeated record to 6-0 with a five-game win (25-20, 23-25, 24-26, 25-21, 15-13) Tuesday at Friends University. Thursday night in North Newton, the Bluejays will face off with Bethel?the only other undefeated team in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.

The Falcons led by as many as five points in the first game, but could not hold off the Bluejays. Tabor closed the gap to two points with Jordan Crosson serving, pulled within one behind Mandi Phillips and tied it at 18-18 during Gina Hullet?s turn.

Consecutive sideouts made it 20-20. Tina Frick gave the Bluejays their first lead of the match with back-to-back kills. Ashley Cohlmia?s serves pushed the Falcons to the brink, and another kill from Frick put the Bluejays ahead in the match.

"In the games we won against Friends our serve was effective and our
offense was able to set up with multiple options," coach Amy Ratzlaff said. "In the games we lost
we had more aggressive errors such as serving errors or hitting errors, especially at the end of games 2 and 3."

The early victory proved indispensible, as Friends overcame a three-point Tabor lead to win the second game, and edged the Bluejays in a tightly-contested third game. Frick tied the third game at 24-24, but missed long on the subsequent serve. The Falcons took the next point and a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the fourth game, the Bluejays used a 3-0 run?a kill by Frick and an ace by Cohlmia?to take a 9-5 lead. Friends rallied to tie at 15-15 and neither team led by more than one until Tabor took a 20-19 lead via sideout and won the next point on Phillips? serve.

A moment later, Hullet?s kill sparked a match-tying 3-0 run.

Tabor led the fifth game 4-2 on Carly Kroeker?s kill, but Friend?s forced a 4-4 tie. Courtney Janzen?s block gave Tabor an 8-7 lead when the teams switched sides. But Friends scored three straight points, forcing a Tabor timeout. The Bluejays re-tied it at 10, and kills by Kroeker and Hullet kept it tied until Frick rotated to the service line. Tabor won the final three points on her serves.

"Carly Kroeker contributed a significant number of kills
throughout the evening, but did a great job at crucial moments in the
match, such as game five," Ratzlaff said. "That helped us pull through.? She did a good job
showing her senior leadership on the court at the end of the match."

Tabor?s leading scorers were Frick (13 kills), Cohlmia (12) and Hullet (10), but Kroeker?s nine kills on 21 attacks gave her the team-high percentage (38 percent).

The Bluejays totaled 7 aces and 9 blocks as a team.

"We went into the match with a focus on defense and blocking and I
believe our team took a step forward in that area," Ratzlaff said. "Andrea Batista and
Ashley Cohlmia really stepped up their defensive games to contribute 17
and 20 digs respectively.? Cortney Janzen became a key blocking force
last night setting up 5 solid downed blocks."

Tabor at Bethel is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.Thursday.

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