TC finishes first round of conference play 5-4


Ashley Cohlmia follows through on a pass to KCAC ?Setter of the Week? Audrey Schellenberg (not pictured) during Monday?s loss to Bethany in Hillsboro.

The Tabor College volleyball team knocked off Sterling (25-15, 25-18, 25-22) Saturday to earn a split for the week. Tabor lost to undefeated conference leader Friends (25-27, 17-25, 21-25) Oct. 7 in Hillsboro.

Sterling?Led by ?Setter of the Week? Audrey Schellenberg, Tabor grabbed control early and maintained its grip against one of the KCAC?s bottomdwellers.

?We played a very solid two games,? coach Amy Ratzlaff said. ?In game three we let down just a bit, but the team did a great job of digging in and getting the job done.

Former Warrior Heather Witham had 10 kills on 15 attacks, and had five blocks?two solo, three assisted. Carly Kroeker had nine kills, Ashley Cohlmia had eight, and Schellenberg notched 20 assists.

?Every one of the players did a great job contributing to our success today,? Ratzlaff said. ?This ends round one for us, and we are excited to see some of the same teams again this week.?

Having faced every conference opponent once, Tabor is 5-4. Sterling fell to 1-8.

Schellenberg was feted by the conference this week for posting an average of 7.0 assists per game. Schellenberg has maintained that pace since posting 26 assists in three games against Southwestern Sept. 30.

?Audrey does a great job of playing the game with her skills and with her head.? Ratzlaff added. ?She is a smart player who understands our system well. Her leadership has been a very important part of our game this year.?

Friends?Tabor dueled the KCAC leaders to a standstill in the first game, and broke a 17-17 tie with three straight points to lead 20-17. A resolute block by Heather Witham and Cortney Janzen precipitated a Falcon?s timeout, after which Friends rallied to close the gap to 20-19.

Tabor regained control after a timeout, but a Friends side out increased the pressure on both teams. The Bluejays responded with a side out of their own, on a 2-handed block by Witham.

With Jessica Dixon serving, a kill by Carly Kroeker of a ball set by Audrey Schellenberg gave Tabor a 23-20 lead.

Then Clancey Kelley made a superb dig, diving to her left to pop up a hard spike. But the Bluejays could not capitalize on the chance to obtain game point, and Friends rallied to knot the game at 23-23.

Tabor broke the rally when Ashley Cohlmia buried an awkward but effective pass from Witham as the Bluejay defense scrambled to make a play.

Friends won back the serve when Casey Urban tipped a shot into the deep corner, and a Tabor error gave Friends the lead.

Cohlmia then killed a sharp-angle shot, making it 25-all, but Friends scored back-to-back points to end the first game.

Very little went according to plan in the second game, and Friends led 3-1 early. A Jordan Crosson tip made it 2-3 for Tabor, and Janzen looked to have tied it at 3-3 before play was stopped on account of injury by the officials. Cohlmia had been stunned briefly in a collision with a teammate, but stayed in the game. Friends won the replayed point.

Even so, a block by Crosson and Janzen knotted the score at 4-4, but Friends scored three straight points before Jessica Dixon rolled an ankle. After the injury, Friends ramped its lead to six points.

The Bluejays rallied to halve the deficit at 14-17, but were unable to sustain the run.

The third game was hard-fought, with Tabor leading 9-8 en route to a 12-12 tie. Back-to-back Bluejay errors put the Falcons in the driver?s seat, but Tabor rallied back within a point at 15-16.

But Friends won four straight points and outscored Tabor 9-6 the rest of the way. But the Bluejays refused to go down easily, with Cohlmia scoring back-to-back kills to lift her team within 20-24.

Falcons middle hitter Rachel Strickland then stepped in to end it with her seventh kill of the match.

Coming?Tabor (5-4 KCAC, 7-11 overall) met Bethany (7-2, 9-5) after press time Monday in Hillsboro. The Bluejays visit Bethel (8-1, 13-7) at 7 p.m. Wednesday, host non-conference opponent Southern Nazarene Friday, and travel to Ottawa (2-7, 3-21) Oct. 21.

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