The Tabor College volleyball team fell one game short of sweeping the Sister Madonna Classic hosted by the University of Saint Mary Saturday in Leavenworth.
The Bluejays beat the host Spires in four games (20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-20) to improve to 2-0 in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. Tabor beat Central Christian (25-10, 25-16, 25-13) on Friday, and on Saturday pounded Southwestern (25-10, 25-23, 25-17) before falling to William Woods in five games (25-23, 22-25, 16-25, 25-16, 8-15).
Against USM, the Bluejays were led offensively by Tina Frick with 13 kills and Ashley Cohlmia with 12 kills. Setter Mandi Phillips generated 51 assists.
?We started tight against St. Mary and struggled to control our errors,? coach Amy Ratzlaff said. ?The team really fought to improve as the match went on and did a good job staying focused on finishing the match. We didn’t play sharply, but we got the job done.?
In the three matches that will not figure into the conference standings, Frick totaled 32 kills as the Bluejays averaged 11.5 kills per game.
?Our game against Central Christian was a good game for the whole team to contribute towards a win,? said Ratzlaff. ?We played a variety of players in a variety of positions and everyone worked well together.?
Tabor faced a KCAC competitor in Southwestern and one of the top teams in the America Midwest Conference in William Woods.
Ratzlaff said some of the potential weaknesses the Bluejays have identified might not have been exposed by lower-quality competition than the Bluejays have faced so far.
?Because we have played some great teams, we have a long list of things we are working on,? she said. ?That is exactly where I had hoped we would be at this point in the season. I don’t want to see that list of things in November?I want to see that list now.?
Sterling?The Bluejays handled most everything the Sterling College Warriors hit at them last Wednesday in Hillsboro, winning in three games: 25-15, 25-17, 25-20.
?We have started doing a better job of mixing up our attack so all hitters on the team have a chance to contribute kills,? coach Amy Ratzlaff said. ?We also need to continue to speed up our attack to be able to perform against the bigger, smarter blockers we have come across early in the season.?
?Our defense has done a super job adjusting to many different systems, but we still need to coordinate our block with our defenders,? she added.
Tina Frick’s solo block and consecutive kills prompted a Sterling timeout at 19-12, but the Warriors struggled to counter the impact the junior hitter made.
After Frick finished the opener with a cannon shot angled toward the line to her left, Sterling melted down. The Warriors sputtered into a 5-1 deficit before Frick’s first serve in the second game, after which Tabor held an 8-3 lead. It proved insurmountable, as Tabor developed an 18-7 advantage en route to a 2-0 lead in the match.
But Sterling found ways to score in bunches throughout the night, and was most focused during the third game. Although Tabor never trailed, the Warriors did not allow the Bluejays lead to exceed five until after tying it at 17-17. But during Crosson’s serve, Tabor rattled off six straight points including two Gina Hullet kills.
?Our Sterling match was full of adrenaline and that made our offense run very smoothly,? Ratzlaff said. ?When our offense is running strong we can control many of the matches we have been in.?
Coming?Tabor (4-5 overall) visited Southwestern for a conference match at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Winfield. The Bluejays play another tough non-conference team Friday at Southern Nazarene. Tabor will play the first of six consecutive conference matches Monday at McPherson. Tabor?s next home game is Sept. 23 against Kansas Wesleyan.