5 Saints Named All Conference and Allen is Coach of the Year
Brock Kappelmann - November 9, 2016 6:33 am
The Jayhawk West and Region VI Champion Seward County Lady Saints were showered by postseason awards on Monday as the league released its 2016 KJCCC All-Conference squads. Five Lady Saints were named to the All-Conference Team while Head Coach Thais Baziquetto-Allen was named the Jayhawk West Co-Coach of the Year.
Leading the way for the five Lady Saints on the All-Conference teams was sophomore right side hitter Maritza Mesa. Mesa was a 1st Team All-Conference selection after putting together a monster season for the Lady Saints. She finished second in the league in kills with 3.44 per set and bumped her production up a notch in conference play, banging home 3.57 per set. Mesa registered double digit kills in 14 of Seward’s 16 Jayhawk West matches this season and turned things up on the defensive end as well, notching seven double doubles including five straight to end the regular season.
Joining Mesa on the 1st Team is freshman middle Mariana Nascimento. Nascimento was nearly unstoppable late in the season, hitting .440 in conference play to lead the Jayhawk Conference and ranked 6th nationally with a .416 hitting percentage on the season. She finished second on the team averaging 2.77 kills per set in conference play and also played big on the defensive end with nearly a block per set in league action.
Garnering 2nd Team All-Conference honors was sophomore setter Amanda Pereira who caught fire late in the season for the Lady Saints and was in turn named both Jayhawk Conference and NJCAA National Player of the Week in the final week of the regular season. Pereira was an all-around star for Seward, finishing conference play averaging just under 8.00 assists per set, while also adding in 2.04 digs per set, 0.53 blocks per set, and 0.47 aces per set which led the team in league action. Pereira was nails running the Seward offense down the stretch, dialing up five straight double-doubles to help the Lady Saints clinch the Jayhawk West and eventually the Region VI Championship, including a 40 assist, 17 dig performance for Seward in the Region VI Title match.
Arguably the Lady Saints most improved player this season, sophomore middle Belissa Guidotti was also named a 2nd Team All-Conference pick by the coaches. Guidotti was the top blocker in the Jayhawk West this season, putting up 1.42 stuffs per set in league play. Guidotti spent some time atop the NJCAA blocks chart this season, ultimately sitting 6th with 155 heading into the NJCAA National Tournament. She registered multiple blocks in every Jayhawk Conference match on the season and had six matches in which she topped the five block mark.
Finding her way onto the Honorable Mention All-Conference list was sophomore outside hitter Kaysie Paxton. Paxton could have very well been the Lady Saints MVP in 2016 as she moved from the right side to the outside after a pair of injuries decimated Seward at the position. Paxton not only adapted to the move, but excelled, finishing just outside the top 10 in the league at 2.50 kills per conference tilt while also pitching in over a half block per set in league action. The epitome of a gamer, Paxton dialed up double digit kills six times against ranked opponents in 2016 and also had 10+ putaways in each of the Lady Saints three Region VI Tournament matches.
Leading Seward to a 14-2 Jayhawk West Conference record and the programs first Conference Championship since 2009, Lady Saints Head Coach Thais Baziquetto-Allen was named the Co-Coach of the Year alongside Hutchinson’s Patrick Hall. Baziquetto-Allen led Seward to seven straight wins to close the regular season, needing each and every one of them to clinch the conference crown, while losing just a single set during the process. Seward’s 14 conference wins this season tie an all-time mark set in 1997 and 1998 under Saints Athletics Hall of Famer Pat Stangle.
Seward’s five All-Conference selections ties for the most in program history, most recently achieved during the 2007 campaign. The five picks were also most of any Jayhawk Conference team this season, followed by Colby and Barton which each had four.
The Lady Saints will enjoy an extended break before heading to Casper, Wyoming and the NJCAA National Tournament which begins on Thursday, November 17th.