The Tabor College volleyball team’s first-ever appearance on the national stage came to a close with a 3-2 loss to Biola, Thursday.
The Bluejays won the first two sets and were on the brink of winning their first match in pool play. But the Eagles came storming back to win the final three sets and claim the victory.
Tabor won Set 1, 25-22. The Bluejays trailed 12-9, but benefitted from five Eagle errors after that to tie the game at 15. Tena Loewen tied the game at 18 with a kill, and blocks by Amy Horner and Sydney Peitz gave Tabor the lead, 20-18. The Bluejays maintained the advantage, using kills by Horner and Kendra Kroeker, as well as a service ace by Miranda Leibold, to secure the three-point win. Kroeker led the team with four kills in the set.
Tabor won Set 2, 25-18, hitting .276 with 12 kills and four attack errors.
With Biola in front, 8-7, Tabor enjoyed a 7-1 run to take a 14-9 lead and prompt an Eagle timeout. Horner contributed a block and back-to-back kills to give Tabor its largest margin of the set, 21-13, and Tabor went on to win by seven after a kill by Loewen.
In a highly-contested Set 3, Biola earned a 27-25 win.
With Tabor plagued by errors, Biola built a 13-8 lead. Tabor rallied within 14-11 after kills by Loewen and Horner, but the Eagles then stretched their margin to 17-11. The Bluejays used a 5-0 run to close the gap to one, thanks in part to a pair of service aces by Leibold. Tabor later took a 24-22 lead after a block by Loewen but couldn’t capitalize, as Biola outscored the Bluejays 5-1 after that to earn the win.
With momentum building for the Eagles, Biola won Set 4, 25-21. The set was tied 12 times. The Bluejays had the lead, 21-20, after kills by Horner and Peitz, but Biola scored the set’s final five points to win it.
Biola then won Set 5, 15-11.
The Bluejays fell behind early, 8-3, and couldn’t make up the difference. On the brink of elimination, trailing, 14-7, Tabor stayed alive by scoring four consecutive points thanks to a pair of errors and two kills by Leibold. But an Eagle kill after that gave Biola the victory.
Tabor hit .135 for the match. Horner recorded a game-high 16 kills. Loewen added 14. Megan Voth had 24 assists. Keeley Kroeker had 14. Ali Jost had 22 digs, Horner 12, Loewen 11, and Haley Falk 10. Kendra Kroeker had three solo blocks.
With an 0-3 record in pool play, Tabor was eliminated from competition. Biola moves to 2-1 and will await the results of the match between Lindsey Wilson (2-0) and MidAmerica Nazarene (1-1). The top two teams advance out of pool play.
The Bluejays conclude the season with an overall record of 26-12.