Tabor defeats Sterling in nail-biter quarterfinal

It took a tough team effort for No. 4 seed Tabor College to defeat the fifth-seeded Sterling College Warriors tonight in five sets (25-21, 21-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-13), but top honors should go to outside hitter Jessie Vogts, who had a heck of a night on her home court to help her team advance to the KCAC semi-finals. 

Vogts served an ace to give the Bluejays the first set win, then came out in a big way in the fifth and final game to rack up over half Tabor’s points, including the game- and match-winning kill. 

Tabor got in an early hole in the first set, but senior Jessica Wollenberg got a block and kill to tie it up, 8-8, before the Bluejays slipped away for a narrow lead. Sterling tied it twice more mid-way through the game, but Tabor just barely pulled away at the end for the 25-21 win. 

The situation was reversed in Game 2, as Tabor got off on an early run and Sterling tied it, 10-10, to spark a back-and-forth battle. The Warriors tied it, 17-17, then gained the advantage and got the spike at the net to win it, 25-21.

Freshman hitter Katelin Horstick played like someone much older, stepping up in the third set with five kills, a block and an ace to give Tabor a narrow lead over Sterling in a game that saw eight ties in the first 10 points. KCAC Player of the Year Katie Vogts slammed home the kill at the net to seal the deal, 25-23. 

True to precedent, the Bluejays couldn’t pull it out in the fourth game. They trailed right off the bat with three unanswered points, before tying it, 6-6, and taking the lead. But Sterling went on a 4-0 run to tie it, 13-13, and after a net violation call came Sterling the lead, 19-18, the Warriors took it away for the narrow 25-23 win. 

As it with both previous matches this season, it took a hard-fought fifth set to decide the winner. Tabor came out strong, as Jessie Vogts set the tone with a consecutive block and kill to give the Bluejays momentum. But back-to-back Tabor errors gave Sterling an 8-7 lead, as the teams switched sides of the court. The Warriors now played in front of the student section, and the fans made it count as they cheered the Bluejays to a down-to-the-wire two-point win over Sterling College, 15-13, for the match win and semi-final berth. 

Tabor is scheduled to play top-seeded Ottawa University in the semi-finals Friday, with time and location to be announced. 

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