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Saints Shrug Off Slow Start at Barton

 Two sets into their Wednesday night battle against rival
Barton, the Seward County Lady Saints looked dead in the water, down 2-0
and being outscored 50-25 in the match.  Things didn't get much better
early on in the third set as Seward trailed 13-11 before a timeout
seemed to have turned the light switch on.  The Lady Saints came back to
win the third set 25-21 and pulled out a close fourth set 25-22 to force
a deciding fifth set with the Cougars.  In the fifth it was all Seward
as they completed the improbable comeback with a 15-8 win to take the
match 3-2. 

                The long bus ride to Great Bend seemed to have affected
the Lady Saints legs early on in the match with Barton.  The Cougars
jumped out to a 5-0 and then 10-1 lead to quickly put Seward behind the
eight ball.  The Cougars continued to pile it on the Lady Saints, going
up by double digits at 13-3 and then stretching their lead to 20-6 later
on before mercifully putting Seward out of their misery 25-10 in the
first.  Seward's offense was dismal in the first as they recorded just 4
kills as a team, 3 of those coming from Annelise Sanchez who was just
starting her big night. 

                Seward started the second set much better, holding their
first lead of the match at 4-1, but it didn't last long as Barton
stormed back a short time later to tie the set at 7 and then take an
11-9 lead of their own.  Once the Cougars seized momentum they were hard
to stop.  Barton pushed their lead to 15-11 midway through the set and
continued to balloon their advantage to 20-13 before putting Seward away
25-15 to go ahead 2-0.  After their quick start, the Lady Saints were
outscored 21-9 to fall in the 2-0 hole.  Again, the Lady Saints could
get nothing going on the offensive side of the net.  Seward hit a season
worst -.132 in the set, committing 11 errors to just 6 kills in the

                Barton looked well on their way to closing out the match
in quick fashion in the third, taking the early lead 5-4 and holding
that advantage to 13-11 midway through the set.  A Bert Luallen timeout
seemed to have flipped a switch in the Lady Saints head as Seward came
out of the break with a 6-2 run to take their first lead of the set at
17-15 and never trailed in the set again.  The Lady Saints pushed their
lead to the largest of the match at 22-18 and would hang on to win by
the same margin 25-21.  It took all Seward had to force a fourth set as
the Lady Saints were nearly unstoppable on offense after their dreadful
start in the first two sets.  Seward hit .389 as a team in the set,
hammering 15 kills to the Kirkman Center floor while committing just 1
error in 36 total swings. 

                The fourth set was a tight one early on as the teams
were tied at 4 until a mini 3-0 run by the Cougars gave them the first
lead 7-4.  The Lady Saints came back to knot the set at 9 and trailed by
one 12-11 before a 4-1 Barton run put Seward in a 16-12 hole as it
looked like the gals in green might be running out of gas.  The Lady
Saints made one last push to come back and tie the set at 19 and the
scored remained deadlocked at 22 six points later.  With their backs to
the wall, the young Lady Saints weren't ready to go home just yet as
Seward scored the final three points of the set to win 25-22 and send
the match to a winner take all fifth.  Once again the Lady Saints
managed 15 kills in the set, this time cooling down slightly to a .250
hitting percentage.  Sanchez led the charge with 6 more put aways while
Sheree Ryan and Morgan Riley each had 3. 

                With the fifth set only played to 15, the Lady Saints
knew that they could not have a slow start in this much important
Jayhawk West battle.  Seward got out to a good start, taking a 5-3 lead
to begin things and were up 8-4 at the changeover.  The teams traded
points to 10-6 before the Lady Saints stepped on the gas.  Seward went
on a quick 4-2 spurt to put the victory within grasp at 14-8 and
finished things off on the next point to come all the way back from down
2-0 to win the set 15-8 and take the match 3-2. 

                The Lady Saints come from behind 2-0 to win a match for
the first time since the 2011 season when they did it three times.
Sanchez led the Lady Saints with 16 kills, just one off her career high
of 17 set last season against Hutchinson.  Riley added 9 kills for the
Lady Saints while Ryan finished with a career high 7.  The Seward block
was a big part of their success Wednesday as the Lady Saints finished
the match with 13 total blocks as a team including 9 from freshman
Carolina Freitas and 6 from Ryan.  Impromptu setter Kristen Anderson led
the Lady Saints with 32 assists in the win while high school teammate
Kelci Bedingfield finished with a team best 29 digs. 

                Seward improves to 6-4 overall on the season while
Barton falls to 1-6.  The Lady Saints pick up their second Jayhawk West
win in as many chances while the Cougars drop to 0-2.  Next up for the
gals in green is a weekend off before a big matchup Wednesday night in
the Greenhouse when they welcome the 2-0 Colby Lady Trojans to town.
Seward and Colby are set for a 6:30 first serve. 




Roy Allen

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