Lady Saints Win, Move On In NJCAA Tourney
Joe Denoyer - November 18, 2016 1:26 pm
The Seward County Lady Saints remained alive Friday morning at the NJCAA National Tournament in Casper, Wyoming, knocking off #18 Monroe 3-1 to advance to the consolation bracket semifinals Friday afternoon at 4:30 local time.
In the first elimination match of the tournament, things were tight early on as Seward and Monroe were deadlocked at seven at the 14 point mark of the first set. The Mustangs pushed ahead to take a 10-7 lead, but three straight from Seward including a block from Amanda Pereira and Belissa Guidotti evened the score back up at 10. Monroe controlled the middle portion of the set, taking a four point, 16-12 advantage later on, but Seward roared back to tie the score at 17. The Lady Saints didn’t stop there, owning the final portion of the first, outscoring the Mustangs 8-3 on the back of Mariana Nascimento to close out the set and take the first 25-20 to go ahead 1-0 in the match. Both teams struggled offensively, Seward hitting .103 and Monroe just .027 in the set.
Once again the second set was tight early on between the Lady Saints and the Mustangs as they found themselves tied at six after 12 points. A 3-0 Seward run pushed the Lady Saints in front 9-6, and Seward held the three point advantage to the middle of the set at 13-10. The Lady Saints looked in control as they pushed their lead to 17-13 later on, but a service error killed Seward’s momentum and in the blink of an eye, the Mustangs were back in it, tying the score at 18-18. Back to back kills from Pereira and Maritza Mesa gave Seward a two point lead once again at 20-18, but again they couldn’t hold it as Monroe came back to tie the score at 22 and eventually went on to take the set 25-23 to even things up at one a piece. Unlike the first, both teams were locked in offensively in the second as Seward hit .306 and Monroe .316.
The Lady Saints got off to a terrible start in the all-important third set, falling behind early on 6-2. Slowly though, they climbed their way back in before leveling the score midway through at 11. Seward continued to push, getting an ace from Daimond Aguinaldo and kills from Mesa and Guidotti to push ahead for the first time in the period 14-11. A kill from Kaysie Paxton later on extended the lead to four at 19-15, but a 5-1 run by the Mustangs again knotted things up at 20. Another Paxton kill pushed the Lady Saints in front by one before two straight from Monroe made it 22-21 Mustangs. The Lady Saints dug their heels in from there, regaining the lead and hanging on in the end to win 26-24 and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
After 14 points in the fourth, things were a wash at seven a piece before a 3-0 Seward County run led by a kill from Paxton and back to back aces from Nascimento pushed the Lady Saints in front 10-7. Seward continued to hold a three point advantage to 13-10 and scored five out of the next six, taking their largest lead of the match at 18-11. With their spirits dashed, the Mustangs never threatened again as the Lady Saints cruised to a 25-17 win to seal the match 3-1. Seward was on fire in the fourth, hitting .387 with 13 kills and just one error for the clincher.
Seward hit .241 in the match and capitalized on 28 Monroe attack errors. It was a balanced attack for the Lady Saints as Mesa and Paxton each had 12 kills in the win while Nascimento finished with 10 and Erica Ferreira had nine. Pereira dished out 25 assists for Seward while Giovanna Kuntze entered in the third set and notched 13. The Lady Saints finished with nine aces, getting three each from Nascimento and Aguinaldo.
Seward improves to 27-10 with the win while Monroe ends their 2016 campaign at 21-13.
The Lady Saints advance in the bracket and will now take on #20 Tyler at 4:30 Mountain Time in Casper in the consolation semis.