Seward County Lady Saints Come Up Short At NJCAA Tourney
KSCB News - November 17, 2016 1:10 pm
Playing in their first NJCAA National Tournament match in 13 years, the Seward County Lady Saints came up short Thursday morning in Casper, Wyoming, dropping a 3-0 decision to #10 Polk State to drop to the consolation bracket on Friday.
The morning started well for the Lady Saints as they took a 10-6 first set lead with an early 4-0 run against Polk State. But the sixth seeded Eagles flexed their muscles, tying the score back up at 14 midway through. An ace from Maritza Mesa put Seward in front by one, but again Polk fought back to tie the score at 16 moments later. From that point on it was all Eagles as Seward struggled to put the ball away and Polk began to find their rhythm, outscoring the Lady Saints 9-2 down the stretch to take the first 25-18. Seward committed seven hitting errors in the first, holding themselves to just a .128 hitting percentage in the period.
Things were tight again early on in the second as Seward and Polk were tied at 6, but a 6-1 Eagle run put the visitors from Florida in front 12-7. The Lady Saints slowly worked their way back into the set and were aided by a pair of Polk errors and a big kill from Kaysie Paxton to even the score back up at 18. However, three straight Polk points out of a timeout put the Eagles back up 21-18 and Seward never recovered as a tip attempt went wide for the Lady Saints on set point to give Polk the win 25-22 to go in front 2-0.
The Lady Saints weren’t ready to roll over just quite yet in the third as they jumped out to an early 5-3 lead on a strong stand at the service line from Kimberly Diaz. But once again, Polk was not to be denied, roaring back to take a 13-10 lead midway through before pushing their advantage all the way to 18-12 deep into the set. A 4-1 Seward run gave the Lady Saints some hope as they cut the Eagle lead in half to just three, but Polk was just too much in the end as the Eagles finished Seward off 25-20 to sweep the match 3-0.
Seward hit .211 in the match, but couldn’t slow down the Eagles who finished with a .321 mark and 46 kills in the match. Mesa had a solid match for Seward, finishing with 12 kills and no errors, good for a .462 hitting percentage to lead the Lady Saints. Paxton came up with 11 kills on the outside for Seward and Amanda Pereira dished out 35 assists. Defensively Seward managed just three blocks in the loss, their second lowest total of the year while Mesa and Jazlyn Smith led the Lady Saints back row with 15 digs each.
Seward falls to 26-10 on the year with the defeat while Polk improves to 25-7.
The Lady Saints fall to the consolation bracket where they will take on Monroe, who fell to Western Nebraska in three, Friday morning at 10:00 in Casper.