The Tabor College volleyball team was one play away from the KCAC tournament championship, but it literally slipped through their fingers.
Tabor lost a hard-fought, back-and-forth battle in an extended fifth game Saturday to top-seeded Kansas Wesleyan, 16-14, to concede the tournament championship to the regular-season champs.
?That?s the way a championship match should be,? coach Amy Ratzlaff said. ?We had two teams full of really good athletes who were playing hard. Never did one team ever really stop battling, and that made it exciting.?
The Bluejays finished their season with a 20-11 record, earning runner-up for both the KCAC regular season and tournament championship behind the Coyotes.
Tina Frick and teammate Hollister Wolf received All-KCAC Player of the Year and Setter of the Year honors, respectively.
?Tina?s just irreplaceable,? Ratzlaff said. ?She had a great match. She received Player of the Year, and she performed that way tonight.?
Cortney Janzen received the KCAC Champion of Character award and a spot on the All-KCAC second team.
?She?s just that player you never want to say goodbye to,? Ratzlaff said. ?She works hard day in and day out.?
Teammates Frick, Wolf and Jessie Vogts were named to the All-KCAC first team.
The Bluejays will graduate seniors Frick, Janzen, Hollie Tabor, Jessica Dixon and Corissa Bartel.
?Leadership was great this year,? Frick said. ?I felt like all the underclassmen knew who to look to. Every one of those seniors did their job.?
Frick described her three years playing volleyball at Tabor as ?amazing.?
?Just the team, the atmosphere?we just love each other,? she said. ?We play hard. I can?t say anything else but amazing.?
Frick expressed gratitude for the time she played under Ratzlaff?s tutelage.
?She?s taught me so much,? Frick said. ?She cares for us so much, not only on the court but off the court. And just her character?I?m speechless. She?s an amazing woman.?
KCAC finals?Kansas Wesleyan came out strong in a 25-21 victory in Game 1. But the Jays battled back and Tina Frick drove home the final kill to secure a 25-23 win in Game 2.
After a back-and-forth contest for the first part of the third game, KWU pulled ahead late for a 25-19 victory.
To keep their championship hopes alive, Tabor needed to win Game 4. The women did just that, leading most of the way toward a 25-18 victory.
The deciding point for the match and the title came down to a fifth game. At first it appeared the Coyotes would get a convincing win as they built an early lead.
But Tabor clawed its way back to take a 13-12 lead.
With the game tied, 14-14, the Coyotes nailed two shots in a row to secure the victory and the championship title.
?It?s hard,? Frick said. ?We wanted to keep going together. We weren?t ready for it to be over yet. But I?m proud of all of them.?
Frick had 25 kills during the match to put an exclamation point on the final game.
Setter Hollister Wolf led the Bluejays with 58 assists that contributed to Tabor?s 65 kills in the match.
?It was obvious that she deserved that award,? coach Amy Ratzlaff said, referring to the Setter of the Year honors. ?She?s unbelievable. She knows the game, she knows the game plan. You put that together and it?s just very dynamic.
?She is a very gifted young lady and we?re very thankful we have two more years with her.?
Jessica Wollenburg and Jessie Vogts each had 10 kills and Corissa Bartel and Cortney Janzen each put up eight.
Hollie Tabor anchored the defense with 20 digs, but the Bluejays had four players in double digit digs: Wolf with 13, Jessica Dixon with 11 and Amy Jo Maphet with 10. Wolf, Wollenburg and Janzen also had four blocks each.
?I was really pleased with my women and how hard they fought,? Ratzlaff said. ?You never want to walk out of here feeling like you played less than your best. I feel like they played 110 percent.?
Ratzlaff said she was proud of the effort of her seniors.
?For Corissa Bartel, that was an unbelievable performance,? Ratzlaff said. ?She took it on herself to play her hardest and that was fun to see.?
Ratzlaff said Dixon did a good job despite a sprained ankle, and Tabor made some great passes that allowed them to run their game plan.
KCAC?semifinals ?The second-seeded Bluejays took care of business Friday, defeating third-seeded Friends University in the tournament semifinals.
?The team was talking a lot,? coach Amy Ratzlaff said. ?They came out and played relaxed and had fun.?
The Bluejays did look confident as they cruised to a 25-19 win in the first game after a 6-1 start.
Friends had the early advantage in Game 2, but Tabor came back to establish a comfortable lead and survived a late Falcon surge to win, 25-21.
The Falcons? championship hopes slipped away in during a hard-fought Game 3. Tabor pulled away late for a 25-20 win and a berth to the tournament finals.
Tina Frick scored two of the last four points on a block and a kill. The final two points came on Falcon errors.
Frick had 12 kills in the match, with Cortney Janzen putting up six and Jessie Vogts four. Hollister Wolf had four kills and 26 assists to spark the offense for 34 kills for the match.
Hollie Tabor led the defense with six digs, but Wolf and Jessica Dixon added five each. Frick had five blocks and senior Corissa Bartel had three.
?They played with a lot of maturity and a lot of confidence,? Ratzlaff said.
KCAC quarterfinals?The Bluejays held off McPherson in a four-game match Nov. 8 in the tournament quarterfinals.
?It?s always good to win that first round,? coach Amy Ratzlaff said. ?We just want to a better team every day and play as hard as we can into the weekend.?
Tabor started strong, winning Game 1, 25-18. The Bulldogs rallied in the second game and challenged Tabor to the last few points before Tina Frick?s kill secured a 25-23 win.
McPherson came back to win Game 3, 25-20, but in the fourth game the Bluejays recovered their stride and maintained a narrow lead most of the way. They survived a late Bulldog rally to clinch the match win, 25-22.
?We were letting points slide that we shouldn?t have let slide, but in the end they did what they needed to do,? Ratzlaff said.
Tina Frick drove home 28 kills to lead the offense. Jessie Vogts added 12, Jessica Wollen?burg seven and Cortney Janzen six. Setter Hollister Wolf provided 52 assists, helping Tabor to 63 kills .
Three players had double-digit digs: Hollie Tabor led with 23, Wolf added 14 and Abbey Burns 12. Bartel posted three blocks, with Frick and Wollenburg each adding two.