Brock Kappelmann - September 1, 2016 5:03 pm
All the allure was in the air Wednesday night as the Seward County Lady Saints hit the road to take on the Hutchinson Blue Dragons in not only a Region VI Championship rematch from a season ago, but also for the first event in Hutchinson’s newly remodeled Sports Arena. The match lived up to the hype for about 25 points before a big finish by Hutch in the first and dominating second and third sets for the Dragons sent the Lady Saints home with their tails between their legs in a 3-0 sweep in Seward’s Jayhawk West opener.
Seward got off to a great start in the first against the rival Blue Dragons Wednesday night, using kills by Maritza Mesa and Paulina Zach midway through the set to take a 14-10 lead on the home team. Hutchinson responded with a 5-0 run to take a 15-14 lead of their own before a Seward timeout and the stoppage in time did not slow the Dragon roll one bit. Hutchinson went on to score 15 of the final 19 points of the set, coming back to stun the Lady Saints 25-18 to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
The Lady Saints shook off the rough finish to the first by coming out and scoring the first three points of the second set, getting an ace from Amanda Pereira to start things and a kill from Mesa to grab a 3-0 lead. However, once again the Dragons roared back, scoring five straight of their own before extending their lead all the way to 15-8 midway through the set. The Lady Saints continued to reel, eventually seeing their deficit grow to double digits before Hutch put an exclamation on their second set win with a 25-14 final.
Smelling blood in the water, the Dragons again attacked in the third, jumping out to an early 9-4 lead on the Lady Saints. Seward battled back to get to within two midset at 13-11, but once again, quickly saw that deficit increase to 18-13 just moments later. The Lady Saints gave it one last push, getting to within three late at 19-16, but it was all Blue Dragons from there as Hutchinson scored six of the final seven points to take the third 25-17 and complete the three set sweep.
As expected, the stat sheet wasn’t pretty for the Lady Saints at the end of the night as Seward hit a season low .151 with just 26 kill in the match. Mesa was a lone bright spot with 10 kills while no other Seward player had more than four in the loss. Giovanna Kuntze led Seward with 12 assists while Jazlyn Smith paced the Lady Saints with 13 digs and Belissa Guidotti was a part of all three Seward blocks in the match.
Seward drops their second straight to fall to 3-2 overall on the season while losing their Jayhawk opener to fall to 0-1 in league play. Hutchinson improves to 4-2 with the win and now has key wins over Colby and Seward to start conference play 2-0.
The Lady Saints will open up their 2016 home slate on Friday when they host the Butler Grizzlies in the Greenhouse at 6:30 in Jayhawk West action.
SEWARD COUNTY/HUTCHINSON BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/wvball/2016-17/boxscores/20160831_53rt.xml>
By Roy Allen