Swedes take out Tabor


>Senior setter Audrey Schellenberg sets up a spike for a teammate during the third game of Tabor?s 4-game loss to Bethany.

The Tabor College volleyball season ended in a four-game loss to Bethany (23-25, 15-25, 25-16, 21-25) during the semifinal round of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament Friday in North Newton. To reach the semifinals, Tabor defeated Saint Mary (20-25, 28-26, 25-17, 25-16) at home Tuesday.

The final point of the first game?a hard spike dug up by a Bethany back-row defender that carried over the net and fell amid a cluster of Bluejays?looked like a fluke, but proved ominous in the second game, when disorganization robbed Tabor of its effectiveness.

?I believe we came ready to play, but we were just trying so hard that we made unusual errors, errors we had not been making these last several weeks,? coach Amy Ratzlaff said. ?It was hard to lose that game because I feel like we had been gaining speed as a team over the last month, and I just wanted to see what this team was capable of.?

The Bluejays trailed their Swede counterparts from the outset Friday night, falling behind by four points early in the first game.

But Tabor rallied behind Ashley Cohlmia, whose kill at 4-7 began her rotation at serve. She then knotted the score at 7-7 with an ace, and the Bluejays took their first lead of the night with a block on the next point.

After Bethany regained the lead at 8-9, the Bluejays ran off four straight behind Gina Hullet, who notched two kills, and Jordan Crosson, who pounded down another to force a Swede time out at 12-9.

The Tabor lead dwindled from there. Bethany retied it at 19-19, and gained a short-lived lead on a hard hit by middle hitter Kristi Parker.

Tabor battled back, retaking the advantage at 23-22 when Crosson hammered a kill off of a Swede blocker, but Bethany scored three straight to take the first game.

The Bluejays allowed five straight Bethany points to start the second game.

?Our unforced errors hurt us early in game two and four,? Ratzlaff said.

Trailing by 10, 9-19, late in the second game, the Bluejays rediscovered their form and outscored the Swedes 6-4 the rest of the way.

Despite trailing two games to none against the regular season runners-up, Tabor made the most of the chance to seize momentum, routing the Swedes with an 18-8 run to close out the third game.

Beginning with an 8-8 tie and Clancey Kelley serving, Tabor scored five of the next six points: three on kills by Hullet, whose bombs might have raised mushroom clouds in a dusty gym, and two on errors by an increasingly flustered Bethany squad.

Tabor closed the game on Kelley?s next serve rotation, which began when Crosson made it 21-15. Subsequently, Hullet and Cortney Janzen blocked a Bethany spike attempt, and Janzen and Carly Kroeker each tallied kills.

?Gina Hullet, Cortney Janzen, and Carly Kroeker all made an enormous impact on our team second round,? Ratzlaff said. ?They combined for 30 kills of our 56 total (for the match) and played a solid offensive game.?

But the Bluejays still trailed by a game in the match, and began again with a series of unforced errors in the fourth game.

Bethany took an 11-3 lead?a climb too steep to overcome, not even with the 16-11 run the Bluejays mounted to force a Bethany time out at 16-23.

Tabor pulled within 19-23 on a kill by Crosson, but Tabor could inch no closer.

?Audrey had 12.7 assists per game, which is a tremendous performance,? Ratzlaff said. ?Jordan Crosson led us in kills with 14 and a .375 hitting percentage which is amazing.?

The team had four all-conference selections announced after the game: Schellenberg and Cohlmia were named to the first team, and Crosson and Heather Witham were named to the second team.

Schellenberg was the conference ?Setter of the Week? three times this season, leading the Bluejays in assists and totaling third-most assists-per-game in the conference.

Cohlmia led the team in kills, aces-per-game, digs-per-game and passing percentage.

?The team believes we had a great season, we just wish we could have another day,? Ratzlaff said.

The team?s final record is 16-15 overall, 12-6 in the conference.

Saint Mary?Tabor got off to a slow start, but finished with a flourish. The Spires played nearly flawlessly at the outset, with nearly every one of their points ending in a hard-hit kill.

Even so, Tabor led 10-7 on a kill by Gina Hullet. Saint Mary rallied to knot it at 11-11 on a block by Carolyn Geschwill, and took the lead on another.

Tabor re-tied the game at 13 and 15, but lost three straight points, prompting a Bluejays timeout at 15-18. The Spires were unable to extend their lead until they won what was probably the night’s longest rally point to make it 18-24.

During the second game, Tabor led 7-5, but fell into a 7-10 hole. Hullet killed the Spires rhythm with another hard hit, but Saint Mary continued to lead by four, frustrating the Bluejays and eventually forcing game point at 20-24 on a line call.

After regaining their focus during a timeout Tabor won four straight points to extend the game. Jordan Crosson started the run with a cross-court laser, and Mandi Phillips stepped in to serve.

Phillips notched an ace to make it 22-24, and forced a passing error to cut it to one. After a timeout, Phillips’ scored with her serve again to tie the game.

Saint Mary went to senior hitter Ashton McMillan to break the run, and McMillan’s attack pinballed between the Bluejay blockers to, for a moment, stem the rising tide.

But Tabor took the next point, and Crosson made it 26-25 with a hard hit that caromed out of bounds off of the blockers.

Saint Mary called for time and tied the game at 26-26, but Crosson hammered another kill for Tabor’s 27th point of the game. Clancey Kelley capped the comeback with her serve?a tumbling strike that fooled Spires libero Mary Ann Snyder.

After falling behind 8-12, Tabor won the third in a walk. Middle blocker Heather Witham won a joust to end a run of three straight points for Saint Mary, but the Bluejays did not mount their charge until Ashley Cohlmia’s serve.

Cohlmia ran off eight consecutive points, with kills by Crosson and Hullet sprinkled into her mix of ace serves.

Saint Mary took a point at 19-15, but Audrey Schellenberg forced game point with her serve.

Having taken a 2-1 lead in the match, Tabor dominated the fourth game. The Bluejays trailed for a moment at 1-2, but got even on a kill by Carly Kroeker and never looked back, building a 7-4 lead that expanded to 11-5 during Cohlmia’s serve.

Colhmia’s kill at 19-11 forced a Spires time out, but Saint Mary’s ensuing run brought them no closer than 19-15. Witham?s kill ended that streak; she recorded another at 22-15, and again to make it 24-16.

Colhmia blasted one more ace to end the match.

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