The Bethel College volleyball team has fallen into a recent pattern of brilliant first sets and flat second sets. But unlike Monday, where the Threshers fell apart in the third and fourth sets against Sterling, Wednesday night at Thresher Gym against Southwestern, Bethel picked it back up for a four-set win. Bethel beat the Moundbuilders 25-9, 22-25, 25-22, 25-17. “I’d almost say it’s the west side of the court,” Bethel coach Chad Schilling said. “I can’t explain it. I jokingly said there’s a secret potion over there that’s affecting us. Some might say it’s a focus issue. That’s some of it. We have to figure it out. We can’t afford it. (In the third and fourth sets,) they were not passing well. We took advantage of it. We were scoring points.” Katie Regier led the Bethel offense with 12 kills, followed by Lindsey Chandler with 10, Jordan Gray with nine and Maggie Hans with eight. Amber Blount set 37 assists. Chandler served two aces. Hans had 15 digs, followed by Blount with Chandler with 11, Blount with 10 and Regier with 10. Whitney Steingard downed a season-high seven blocks, three solo. “It’s just the momentum of the game,” said Regier, a junior from Whitewater. “You get so caught up in that first one. We just need to get more consistent. We started getting our energy back (in the third set), and things just started clicking for us. It’s better when the team is playing together, and not for themselves.” Bethel improves to 9-13, 4-7 in KCAC play. After a 6-1 start, the Threshers lost 10 of 11, including eight straight. Bethel is 3-2 in its last five matches. “The conference is really good,” Regier said. “We need to find our consistent selves. We need to just play together.” For Southwestern, 7-15 overall and 0-11 in conference, Kenzi Lewis had 10 kills, followed by Jordan Stalder and Blaire Miller with seven each. Jacqueline Erlanson set 20 assists, followed by Rachel Vieyra with 14. Kaitlyn Munoz had 18 digs, followed by Stalder with 17. Stalder and Ashley Schoenhofer each downed three blocks. Bethel jumped ahead 12-4 in the first set. Southwestern took a time out, but Bethel came out and extended its lead to 10, 17-7. The Threshers allowed just two more points in the set. Southwestern stiffened up both its offense and defense in the second set to take a 10-4 lead. Down 17-9, Bethel made a 7-2 run to draw within three and force a Southwestern time out. Bethel drew within one, 21-20, but gave up two straight points. After a second Thresher time out, Bethel again got back within one, 23-22, but gave up two points for the set. Bethel jumped out 7-3 in the third set. Bethel extended its lead to 19-12, holding off a late Southwestern comeback. The Threshers had a scary moment when setter Amber Blount went down, but she was able to return later in the set. “She came back,” Schilling said. “She’ll probably be limping around awhile. We don’t play again until Tuesday, so the rest will help. Callie Serne came in and did a good job. Our passing improved, and that helps. You tell you’re hitters to keep it simple, let her get in a rhythm. That’s not always an easy thing.” Down 6-1 in the fourth set, Bethel took a time out and came back to take an 11-10 lead. Tied 15-15, Bethel made a 5-0 run. Southwestern took a timeout, but Bethel responded with a 5-2 run for the match. Bethel plays 7 p.m. Tuesday at McPherson. The Bulldogs are one match behind the Threshers in a three-way tie for seventh in the KCAC, but beat Bethel in three sets in the first round of conference play. The top eight teams advance to the conference post-season tournament. “They handled us easily here,” Schilling said. “They’re a good team. They’re a big team. We need to play well for seeding for the tournament. It would make it easier if we handle our business.”
S-western k as ac d b Clark 6 0 1 3 0 A.Vieyra 4 1 0 2 1 Stalder 7 0 0 17 3 Miller 7 1 0 1 1 Craddock 2 0 0 2 0 R.Vieyra 0 14 0 7 0 Hallmark 0 0 0 7 0 Schoenhofer 4 1 0 1 3 Lewis 10 0 0 1 1 Sisneros 0 0 0 0 0 Erlanson 0 20 1 4 0 Munoz 0 0 0 18 0 Bethel k as ac d b Hans 8 0 1 15 1 Blount 2 37 0 10 1 Regier 12 1 1 10 1 Chandler 10 1 2 11 2 Gray 9 0 0 5 3 Steingard 6 0 0 7 7 Serene 0 1 0 0 0 Davison 0 0 0 4 0 k-kills, as-assists, ac-aces, d-digs, b-total blocks. S-western 9 25 22 17 —1 Bethel 25 22 25 25 —3 Time — 1:26.