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Wood’s Big Day Leads Seward On Day One at Oz Fest

KSCB News - September 28, 2015 6:45 am

Seward County sophomore Alex Wood has come into her own for the Lady Saints over the past two weeks. The opening day of the 2015 Ozfest Invitational Tournament in the Greenhouse Friday was no different for Seward’s top player as she finished with 25 kills and just one error in two matches to lead the Lady Saints to 3-0 sweeps of Jayhawk West rival Butler as well as Otero in a near perfect day one for the gals in green.

The Lady Saints first match of the tournament was a Jayhawk West battle with the Butler Grizzlies. The first set between the two was tight and the teams saw each other knotted at nine at the 18 point mark. Seward pushed out in front, taking a 16-12 lead on a kill from Alex Wood, but Butler clawed back in and tied the score once again, this time at 17. With the score 20-19 in favor of Seward, Viviane Viana came up big for the Lady Saints, picking up a kill and a pair of aces to stretch their lead before a Butler attack error sealed the deal on the Grizzlies as Seward took the first 25-19. The Lady Saints pounded down 11 kills and had just one error in the first to hit .370 as a team.

Megan Sharratt took the Lady Saints on her back early in the second, picking up a block, two kills, and three service aces to push Seward out to an 8-3 advantage. Thanks in part to some sloppy Seward play, Butler climbed back into the set by the midway point as the Lady Saints lead shrunk to two at 13-11. A Seward timeout got them back on track and once they did, it was a train running downhill for the Lady Saints. Seward outscored the Grizzlies 12-2 to close out the set, putting it on their foes from El Dorado in a 25-13 win to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

Seward bolted out to a 6-0 lead behind a pair of early aces from Jade Piper in the third. The Lady Saints held their six point lead to 14-8, but soon Butler was right on their heels, cutting the Seward advantage to just one at 16-15. A kill from Viana and two more from Wood stretched the Lady Saints lead back to four, but again, the struggling Grizzlies were able to find their way back into the set, this time tying the score up at 22. A pair of kills from lefty Maritza Mesa gave the Lady Saints two cracks at match point, but they only needed one as Wood found a hole in the Grizzlies defense on a serve for an ace to finish them off 25-22 and give Seward a 3-0 win.

The Lady Saints hit an efficient .284 in the match, committing just nine hitting errors in the victory. Seward sophomores Alex Wood and Megan Sharratt stepped up big when the Lady Saints needed them as Wood finished with a team best 11 kills and just one error in the win while Sharratt had nine kills without a single error. Seward’s serve gave Butler all kids of trouble in the contest as they combined for a season high 14 aces, getting six from Viana alone.

SEWARD COUNTY/BUTLER BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/wvball/2015-16/boxscores/20150925_v55b.xml>

In the final match of day one of the tournament, Seward took on Otero, in what was expected to be the best match of the opening day. The Lady Saints got off to another good start, thanks in part to their solid serve that gave Otero problems including aces from Sharratt and Viana to push Seward out to an 8-4 lead. The Lady Saints continued to lead by four to the midway point and a kill later in the set by Wood stretched their cushion to five at 19-14. Seward wasn’t able to run away from the Rattlers, but a quick set and finish to Sharratt in the middle closed things out for the Lady Saints as they downed Otero in the first 25-20.

To begin the second, a pair of early kills from Wood and another from Kaysie Paxton pushed the Lady Saints out to a 6-3 lead. They remained up by three to 9-6 when three straight unforced errors allowed the Rattlers to tie the score up at nine. The Lady Saints scored six of the next seven points, highlighted by a solo stuff from Viana to push their lead to 15-10 and after Otero was able to break the run, Seward scored two more to make it an 18-11 score. Later in the set a rash of Lady Saint errors allowed the Rattlers to creep back in at 20-18 but a big block by Belissa Guidotti and Maritza Mesa put them back on top by three 21-18. Otero never got closer than three to Seward and like the first, a Piper to Sharratt connection in the middle finished things off as the Lady Saints took the second 25-21 to go in front 2-0 in the match.

Two early blocks for the Lady Saints and three kills from Wood gave Seward a 7-4 edge to begin the third set. The Lady Saints continued to push, taking their largest lead of the match at 12-5 at the midway point of the period. Seward led 16-11 later on, but five straight Rattler points, three coming on Lady Saint mistakes, tied the score at 16. A pair of Mesa kills put Seward back in front and two more kills from Sharratt and Viana pushed that lead to four at 22-18 late in the set. An Otero service error gave the Lady Saints five cracks at match point, but they only needed one as an unforced Rattler error finished them off as Seward took the third 25-19 to win the match 3-0. The Lady Saints had 15 kills in the set, hitting .364 as a team.

Wood was sharp as a tack for the Lady Saints in the win, banging home 14 kills without a single error, hitting a career high .609 in the match as well as pulling up a team high 9 digs for Seward. Viana also shined for Seward in the victory, finishing with 12 kills while hitting .409 for the Lady Saints.

SEWARD COUNTY/OTERO BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/wvball/2015-16/boxscores/20150925_dko5.xml>

Seward remains hot, winning their fifth and sixth straight matches to improve to 13-7 overall on the year. With their win over Butler Friday, Seward also improves to 6-1 in Jayhawk West action where they continue to be right on the heels of Hutchinson for the conference’s top spot.

The Ozfest Invitational will continue in the Greenhouse Saturday with action beginning at 10:00 AM. The Lady Saints will again play matches at 12:00 and 6:00, battling Lamar and Clarendon to wrap up tournament play.

Roy Allen

 

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