Jays defeat Friends in KCAC play

Janae Rempel / Free Press<p>Tena Loewen goes for the kill during Set 4 against Friends Saturday. Loewen led Tabor?s attack with 20 kills in the Bluejays? 3-1 victory.

Energy levels were high when the Tabor College volleyball team battled hard-hitting Friends in a return to KCAC competition Saturday.

Tabor earned a 3-1 win and is one of two unbeaten teams in KCAC play.

It was the first competition for the Bluejays all week, and coach Amy Ratzlaff said it took time for Tabor to shake off the cobwebs.

?I didn?t feel like we played our best game,? Ratzlaff said. ?I thought Friends played well and did some nice things and we didn?t adjust very quickly, so games were tight.?

Tabor won Set 1, 25-18, while hitting .485 and recording 17 kills for the set. Tabor turned a 3-3 tie into an 8-3 lead and never looked back from there.

Friends came back to win Set 2, 25-18. At one point, Tabor led, 9-7, thanks to kills by Tena Loewen and Amy Horner, but Friends jumped in front, 13-9. Following a 13-13 tie, Friends took the lead for good.

In a defining moment, Tabor came back to win Set 3, 25-23. After trailing 10-8, Tabor used a pair of kills by Loewen and another by Katelin Horstick to fuel a 5-0 run. But Friends regained the lead, 18-14 and led by as many as 21-16.

Trailing 23-21, Ashley Jojola used a kill to ignite a 4-0 burst to the finish that included three Tabor blocks.

The Bluejays polished the win with a 25-23 victory in Set 4. Tabor trailed a majority of the game before taking its first lead, 18-17, on a Horner kill. It was a back-and-forth battle from there. Tabor scored the final two points to win.

Loewen led Tabor?s attack with 20 kills.

?I think I?m most pleased that we pulled out that third set,? Ratzlaff said. ?I feel like that was a great thing that the girls didn?t just bury it and want to start another set. They went after that set. That was a big deal for us and probably the biggest game-changer.?

Coming?Tabor (3-0, 10-6) will host McPherson (0-4, 3-11) tonight at 7 p.m.

The Bluejays will play a pair of games Saturday. Tabor will play at the University of Saint Mary (1-3, 1-3) at 11 a.m. and will compete at Ottawa (4-0, 11-3) at 5 p.m.

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