Jay’s winning streak reaches eight

The Tabor College volleyball team thumped Southwestern (25-11, 25-14, 25-11) in the opening round of the KCAC postseason tournament Saturday in Hillsboro.

The Bluejays defeated Sterling (25-13, 25-18, 25-13) on Thursday, but the most important game of the week may have been Tabor?s five-game road win over Friends (25-23, 14-25, 13-25, 25-20, 15-12) Nov. 4 in Wichita.

Southwestern?The Bluejays came out firing and simply overwhelmed the Moundbuilders.

?This is our third time playing Southwestern, and we played them a little more cleanly than we did before,? coach Amy Ratzlaff said.

In part because of an inept attack and in part because of the strength of the Tabor defense, Southwestern scored consecutive points only twice in the first game.

The Builders started with the serve and took a two-point lead, and did not string together two more points in a row until they bagged their 10th and 11th of the night in order?just after Tabor?s lead ballooned to 23-9.

The second game saw closer scores, with Tabor trailing 4-6 as Ashley Cohlmia stepped back to serve. She nailed back-to-back aces to tie it.

On the next rotation, Clancey Kelley broke a 7-7 tie and ran Tabor?s total to 10?and the Bluejays did not trail again in the game.

In the third game, Tabor trailed 1-2, but took the lead for good on a Carly Kroeker kill at 3-2. Cohlmia?s kill made it 8-3, and Audra Atwell ran the tally to 11-3 during her serve.

Southwestern was unable to close within seven after that, and gave up six straight points during Andrea Batista?s serve.

Heather Witham put down a thunderous kill to make it 24-11, and the match ended on a Southwestern attack error.

Audrey Schellenberg totaled 22 assists.

Sterling?Behind 10 kills from Ashley Cohlmia, Tabor obliterated the Warriors. Audrey Schellenberg had 24 assists, and also had a team-high 9 digs.

?Sterling has been playing well the last couple of weeks, so for us to take care of them in three was big,? Ratzlaff said.

Friends?The Bluejays, then winners of five straight, extended their win streak and snapped the Falcons eight-game run to take over the title of hottest team in the conference.

?Needless to say, this was a great win for us,? coach Amy Ratz?laff said. ?Our team feels like we are gaining speed every few days, so it is exciting to see that realized.?

The Bluejays were led offensively by Ashley Cohlmia with 14 kills, while Carly Kroeker and freshman Gina Hullet each had 10 kills.

?We started the match slow and came back from behind the first game,? Ratzlaff said. ?In games 2 and 3 we made a lot of serving and hitting errors that we had not been making the last few matches.?

The fourth game turned when Tabor raised its level of aggressiveness.

?The team dug deep to play hard in the fourth game,? she said. ?They had not committed many errors, and we had not forced them into many errors, but in the fourth game, we were able to frustrate them a little bit,? Ratzlaff said.

In five-game matches, Tabor had won only once in four chances prior to Tuesday, but against the Falcons, the Bluejays broke out of their pattern.

?I have to say the fifth game was one of my favorite wins as a coach,? Ratzlaff said. ?We got behind, 5-8, but the level of determination from the team was unlike anything I have seen.?

Trailing 10-12, Tabor scored five straight to secure the win.

?We served the final five points very well, causing them to free-ball over to us,? Ratzlaff said. ?And we had several very hard-hit kills to close it out.?

Schellenberg totaled 45 assists in the contest.

Coming?Tabor (15-14 overall, 12-6 KCAC) hosted Saint Mary in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

With a win, the Bluejays would most likely face regular season runner-up Bethany at 5 p.m. Friday at the Bethel College gym. The Threshers will play the winner of the Kansas Wesleyan-McPherson quarterfinal at 8 p.m.

Whether or not Tabor advances, the championship game will be played at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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