TC defeats Bethel in home-opener

Returning to Hillsboro for the season?s home-opener, the Tabor College volleyball team gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about in a dominating 3-0 victory over Bethel Wednesday.

After what coach Amy Ratzlaff described as a ?brutal? preseason schedule, it was a nice boost for the Bluejays to kickoff the bulk of their conference schedule with a win.

?I?m pleased,? Ratzlaff said. ?I wanted it to be a positive night, and I feel like it was. I didn?t feel like they drug their heels about anything, they were just going to play.

?Some great plays, especially at the end of the match. Anytime you can finish a match with a big block or finish a set with a big hit, that?s a really good sign.?

The Bluejays never trailed in Set 1, leading by as many as 16-8. But the Threshers hung around, aided by some Tabor errors, to close the gap to 20-18 late. From there, though, it was all Tabor. Sydney Peitz and Daniele Wendland contributed back-to-back kills, and Tena Loewen polished the match with two service aces for a 25-18 Tabor win.

The sheer youth of the Bluejay team was a factor in some of Tabor?s errors on the court.

?As long as you?re getting rid of one or two errors every time you play, you get to be a better team, so hopefully next time, we?re just making a few less errors,? Ratzlaff said. ?We did a lot of scoring for them tonight, and that?s the young-ness.

?The thing that I look for is, are the errors aggressive? If we have aggressive errors, fine. It?s when you have non-aggressive errors?and I didn?t feel like we had a ton of those; a few here and there?those are the ones we?ve got to get rid of first, and the rest will settle in for the season.?

In Set 2, Tabor built a 10-3 lead, and although the Threshers drew within two points a couple times, the Bluejays maintained the advantage and cruised to a 25-18 victory, capped by a Loewen kill.

Things got interesting in Set 3, as both teams remained within two points for more than half the set. The teams traded scores, and it was Bethel led, 8-6. The teams locked heads in a tie 10 times, the final being 13-13. From there, Tabor enjoyed a scoring burst for a 19-13 lead after a Loewen kill. A Wendland kill made it 23-15, and Tabor won with ease, 25-16.

?This was the first match at home for almost the entire team,? Ratzlaff said. ?That?s not easy, but we had a phenomenal showing tonight. I could not be more pleased with our crowd, with the atmosphere. It was a good way to start the season. In and out in three is always good.?

Loewen led the attack at the net with 12 kills and three service aces. Kelsea Brittain added 19 assists, and Whitney Maple had 12 digs. Meanwhile, Daniele Wendland had three solo blocks.

Coming?The Bluejays (2-0, 5-9) have had a chance to rest before the bulk of the conference schedule begins. Tabor will host McPherson (1-1, 6-4)?tonight at 7 p.m. and will travel to Ottawa (2-1, 5-6)?Friday for a 7 p.m. game.

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