Apart from a lackluster second game, the Tabor College volleyball team hammered Bethel to a degree not often seen in the Threshers? home gym Thursday night in North Newton. While the battle of unbeatens required four games (25-20, 16-25, 25-20, 25-22), the Bluejays owned the scoreboards for long stretches, particularly in the first and third games. The win boosted Tabor to 7-0 in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference while the loss was Bethel?s first to a conference opponent.
The Bluejays then swept Bethany on Saturday, marking Tabor?s first 3-game win since a victory over Southwestern Sept. 12. Tabor won a 5-game showdown Sept. 29 at Friends.
?We had a great week of volleyball,? coach Amy Ratzlaff said. ?Our team made the committment to maximum effort this week and I believe they did a great job playing hard this week. Our wins against Friends and Bethel were big wins for us.?
?We were fatigued last week…the last weekend of September was a break for us, so coming in this week was refreshing,? she added. ?We played more like ourselves this week.?
The setter-hitter combination of Mandi Phillips and Tina Frick was recognized with conference ?player of the week? honors.
?Each week Mandi and Tina are connecting at a bigger and better level,? Ratzlaff said. ?Mandi had a tremendous week of volleyball with very high achieving games against Friends and Bethel.
?Our offensive system is a difficult one to run, and Mandi has done an excellent job finding ways to run it with more precision and variety.?
Frick is ?becoming an undeniable force for us,? Ratzlaff said. ?Against Bethel, Tina had almost 5 kills a game with an incredible hitting percentage. Those numbers are up there with some of the best hitters from this program. Each week Tina steps on the floor I see her play with more determination and effectiveness.?
Bethany?Behind Ashley Cohlmia and Gina Hullet, the Bluejays cruised (25-16, 25-13, 25-17) past the Swedes. Freshman outside hitter Emily Post led the team in both kills per game (5) and attack percentage (55.6), but the Bluejays scored the bulk of their points on hits by Cohlmia (10 kills) and Hullet (9). Setter Mandi Phillips averaged 11 assists per game.
?I felt like our offense ran smoothly, but our defense also gave good effort which made our whole game more fun to play,? Ratzlaff said.
Tabor led by as many as 10 points in the first game, by as many as 12 in the second and by as many as eight in the third.
A surprisingly small crowd turned out for the early start.
Bethel?With a tone-setting kill by Tina Frick, Tabor took a 1-0 lead in game one and did not trail during a 5-point victory in the opener. Bethel forced a early tie and used a 4-0 run to wipe out most of a 17-11 Tabor lead later in the game.
The Bluejays took a timeout when their lead shrank to 17-15, and went to Ashley Cohlmia to break the Threshers? run. Cohlmia then restored Tabor?s lead to five, 22-17, with her serve. Kills by Frick and Gina Hullet put the Bluejays up 1-0 in the match.
?The Tina Frick/Mandi Phillips combination was unstoppable with Tina posting almost 5 kills a game and Mandi posting over 12 assists a game,? Ratzlaff said. ?We let our offense down in game two and it made a huge difference.?
The second game started with a series of delays as the official scorers struggled to keep up with the action, and while the choppy start benefitted neither team, Bethel made the most of it. The Threshers turned a 5-5 tie into an 8-6 lead that swelled to 14-8 with Billye Jerde serving.
The Thresher lead grew to 18-10 and a 4-0 run at the end of the game pushed the Bethel lead to nine. The dormant Bluejays offense showed signs of activity with a 3-0 run late in the second game, and Tabor erupted early in the third game.
Ashley Cohlmia punches a loose ball over the net against Friends. Cohlmia finished with 12 kills in the match and 31 this week.
The Bluejays turned a 5-5 tie into a 14-7 lead with a 6-0 run with Jordan Crosson serving. Tabor went up by eight on Carly Kroeker's kill and by nine on Cohlmia?s kill at 20-11.
Bethel pulled within three points late in the game, but Kroeker gave Tabor a 2-1 match lead with a heavy hit off of the Bethel blockers.
The Bluejays led the fourth game by as many as four points, but Bethel rallied to tie it at 19-19 when Christy Weems won a joust against Frick. The Threshers even led 20-19. Crosson tied it at 20 and Frick gave the Bluejays a 22-21 lead. Frick?s block made it 23-21 and a Bethel serve error brought it to match point, which the Bluejays claimed on Kroeker?s kill.
Frick totaled 19 kills, while Cohlmia (9), Kroeker (8) and Hullet (8), Crosson (6) and Courtney Janzen (5) balanced Tabor?s attack.
The Bluejays also scored well with their serves, with Cohlmia (4 aces) and Crosson (3) causing the Threshers considerable difficulty.
Andrea Batista anchored Tabor?s back line with 14 digs.
Friends?Tabor?s record reached 6-0 with a five-game win (25-20, 23-25, 24-26, 25-21, 15-13).
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.
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.
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,
Coming?Tabor (8-0 KCAC, 10-6 overall) put its current 5-game win streak on the line at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Ottawa. The Bluejays then host a 3-game homestand which begins against Southern Nazarene at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Tabor hosts Southwestern and Hesston Wednesday (Oct. 14) and Thursday (Oct. 15).