The Seward County Lady Saints day started with the highest of highs on Friday as they beat New Mexico Military in four sets and had a 2-1 lead on #19 Odessa in the Wranglers home gym, but a late slip by Seward allowed Odessa to come from behind for a five set win, leaving the Lady Saints 1-1 after one day of action deep in the heart of Texas.
Things got off to a good start for the Lady Saints as they squared off against New Mexico Military in the opening game of the Odessa College classic on Friday. Kaysie Paxton got a kill on the first point of the first set and Belissa Guidotti and Maritza Mesa combined on a block the next point to quickly push Seward ahead 2-0. The teams played from that point until the midpoint of the set as Seward held onto a two point advantage when Jazlyn Smith stepped to the service line and rolled off six straight points for the Lady Saints to blow their lead open to 18-11. New Mexico Military made things interesting late, but Paxton put the cherry on top of the cake with her fourth kill of the first to wrap up a 25-21 win for the Lady Saints to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Seward had 15 kills in the first, hitting .303 as a team.
Seward and NMMI split the first six points of the second, but the Lady Saints took 10 of the next 12 to open up a comfortable cushion at 13-5. They didn’t let up and once again, it was Paxton in the middle of the damage as the sophomore outside smashed home four more kills down the stretch to finish off a dominating 25-14 win for the Lady Saints to give them a 2-0 lead in the match.
A pair of Maritza Mesa aces pushed Seward ahead 8-5 in the third set as they looked for the sweep and the Lady Saints were in good position to do so as they took a 23-16 lead on the Broncos late in the set on another service dagger from Mesa. However, after a service error to stop the Lady Saints momentum, New Mexico Military rolled off eight straight points, including help by six Seward County errors to unbelievably erase the Seward lead to take a 24-23 lead of their own. The Lady Saints sided out to remain alive, but eventually the Broncos came out ahead in a 28-26 marathon to extend the match to a fourth set.
Following a stern talking to by Head Coach Thais Baziquetto-Allen, the Lady Saints came out ready to go in the fourth, using a midset push to take a 17-11 lead on the Broncos as they looked again to close out the match. NMMI cut the lead to three later in the set, but back to back kills from Mariana Nascimento and a dump kill from setter Giovanna Kuntze pushed the Seward lead back to six and a kill off the left arm of Mesa finished the Broncos off 25-19 as the Lady Saints took the match 3-1.
Nascimento led the Lady Saints with a career high 14 kills in the match while Mesa and Paxton each reached double figures as well with 12 and 11 respectively. Amanda Pereira dished out 31 assists to lead the way for Seward while Guidotti recorded seven blocks to pace an 11 block match for the Lady Saints.
SEWARD COUNTY/NEW MEXICO MILITARY BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/wvball/2016-17/boxscores/20160909_rmfn.xml>
In their second match of the night, the Lady Saints squared off against the #19 ranked team in the country in the host Odessa Wranglers. Seward carried their momentum from their win over NMMI right into their match against the Wranglers, taking it to the home team right away as they jumped out to a dominating 18-9 lead. However, things turned South very quickly as the Wranglers scored 10 of the next 11 points in the set to draw all the way back to within one at 20-19. Seward scored two straight to retake a three point advantage but a service error gave the ball back to the Wranglers with the score 22-20. A kill by Nascimento and a dump kill by Periera gave Seward three cracks at set point with a 24-21 lead but two attack errors and an Odessa kill knotted the score at 24 and sent things to extra points. The Lady Saints had two more chances to close the set, but failed each time and eventually watched as Odessa closed out a 29-27 marathon win to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Odessa took it right at Seward in the second, jumping out to an 8-5 lead before the Lady Saints recovered midway through to knot the score at 13 on back to back solo blocks from Nascimento. A Seward kill and back to back attack errors by the Wranglers put the Lady Saints up three, but the back and forth affair continued as Odessa came back to tie the score at 20 later on. Another Nascimento block put Seward in front and this time they didn’t give it back again, finishing off a 25-23 win to even the match at one. In a statistical oddity, the Lady Saints won the second set despite recording just five kills as a team, thanks in part to a seven block set on the defensive end.
The heavyweight battle between the Lady Saints and the Wranglers continued in the third. It was Odessa again taking an early lead before Seward recovered to take the lead back at 17-16 on yet another solo block from Nascimento in the middle. Seward scored the next point to grab a two point advantage, but Odessa rolled off five in a row after that to take a three point lead of their own at 21-18. Seward bounced back to knot the score at 23 and eventually took the match on a block from Guidotti and Mesa to win 27-25 and take a 2-1 lead in the match
Whatever mojo the Lady Saints had to finish the second and third sets, they lost quickly as the fourth set began. Seward fell behind 15-6 to begin the set, notching just three kills in the first 21 point mark. It didn’t get much better from there as the Lady Saints watched their deficit grow to as many as 13 before Odessa mercifully finished them off 25-13 to send the match to a deciding fifth set.
Seward jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the abbreviated fifth and looked like they were in good shape to pull off the upset, but Odessa roared back, scoring the next nine straight points to take a commanding lead at 9-2. In the 15 point set, there just wasn’t time for the lady Saints to come back and a Seward service error was the final blow for the gals in green in an error riddled match as the Wranglers finished the comeback with a 15-8 win to take the match 3-2.
The Lady Saints committed 59 errors in the match including 13 reception errors and 13 service errors. Three Seward hitters reached double figures in kills as Paxton led the way with 11 and Mesa and Nascimento each had 10, but all three had six or more errors as the Lady Saints hit just .105 as a team in the loss. Libero Daimond Aguinaldo had a career high 19 digs for Seward while Guidotti notched 11 blocks and Nascimento tallied a career best five solo blocks in the defeat.
SEWARD COUNTY/#19 ODESSA BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/wvball/2016-17/boxscores/20160909_rlju.xml>
The 1-1 evening puts the Lady Saints at 6-3 overall on the season. Seward will continue the OC Classic on Saturday when they take on Midland and Lamar to wrap up the weekend.