Seward didn’t get off to the best start Monday night, falling behind 9-6 early on as the Cloud County faithful in Bryant Gymnasium began to get into the game. Hopefully Thunderbird fans got their cheers out in the first 15 points, because from there on, the Lady Saints dominated the match. Seward scored 11 of the next 15 points as the left arm of Maritza Mesa and the right arm of Erica Ferreira got going. With a 16-12 lead, the Lady Saints didn’t let off the gas, continuing to push until their lead grew all the way to seven at 21-14. A late kill from Mariana Nascimento gave Seward set point and a big block from Belissa Guidotti and Kaysie Paxton sealed the deal as the Lady Saints took the set 25-21 to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
After falling behind 2-1 after three points in the second, the Lady Saints again kicked things into a gear that the T-Birds just couldn’t keep up with. Seward scored five straight to open up a 6-2 lead and pushed that advantage all the way to 13-5 as setter Giovanna Kuntze found a hole in the defense for back to back kills followed by a pair of bullets from Paxton to stretch the Lady Saints lead to eight. The Lady Saints didn’t stop there as Guidotti and Paxton combined for a couple more blocks to make it a 19-7 contest before eventually Seward finished Cloud off 25-10 to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Seward hit .393 in the set, banging home 12 kills with just one error in 28 total swings while Cloud hit -.148 with just six kills and 10 errors on 27 swings.
For the third straight set, the Lady Saints found themselves behind early on in the third, but yet again, it didn’t take long for them to get things rolling and erase the T-Bird advantage as Seward led the set 13-10 midway through. Quickly the Lady Saints pushed their lead to eight at 20-12 and that cushion held until it was a 22-14 game. A service error and ensuing reception error by the Lady Saints made it a 22-16 game, but three straight kills by Seward put the nail in the T-Birds coffin as the Lady Saints took the set 25-16 to sweep the match 3-0. Again Seward was nearly unstoppable on offense, hitting .467 with 15 kills and just one error on 30 attacks.
Seward hit .375 as a team in the win, their best mark offensively since their opening match of the 2016 season. Mesa recorded double digit kills for the 12th straight match to begin the season as she led the Lady Saints attack with 11 kills and a .500 hitting percentage while Nascimento chipped in eight to finish second on the team. Kuntze had a big match off the bench for the Lady Saints, recording her second career double-double with 20 assists and 10 digs while Guidotti continued her block party with a match high six in the win.
Seward wins for the sixth time in their last seven outs to improve to 9-3 overall and 3-1 in Jayhawk West action with the victory. Cloud drops back to 7-6 overall and sees their conference mark even up at 2-2.
The Lady Saints will return home late Monday night and have just one day to prepare for the rival Garden City Broncbusters who come to the Greenhouse Wednesday in a 6:30 first serve in Liberal.
SEWARD COUNTY/CLOUD COUNTY BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/wvball/2016-17/boxscores/20160912_ign5.xml>