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A Historic Night for Saints Volleyball

KSCB News - October 31, 2014 6:50 am

Nine Seward County Lady Saint sophomores playing in their final career match in the friendly confines of the Greenhouse, made history and kept history going Thursday night in Liberal as they defeated Cloud County 3-1 to secure 3rd place for the upcoming NJCAA Region VI Tournament. Seward continues a streak of 30 straight wins against the T-Birds dating back to 1998 and in the 4th set Thursday night, set a school record with a 37-35 win over Cloud, the longest single set in school history.

Following an emotional pregame ceremony honoring the nine Seward sophomores playing in their last match in Liberal, the Lady Saints jumped out to a 6-2 and then 10-4 lead on Cloud in the first set. The Lady Saints continued to pile on the T-Birds, getting a solo block and a kill from Angelina Minor to give them a 16-8 advantage. Seward took their largest lead of the set at 20-9, but Cloud County came back late to make things interesting, cutting the Lady Saints lead down to 23-17 at one point before Seward finally put them away 25-18 on the most unlikely of happenings, a kill on an overpass by libero Kari Anderson. Seward finished the first set with 14 kills and just 1 error offensively, good for an even .500 hitting percentage.

The teams traded blows early in the second set, with the Lady Saints holding an 11-7 lead after kills by Carolina Gasparini, Minor, and Alex Wood. Then it was Cloud’s turn for a run and quickly the T-Birds worked their way back into the set and tied the score at 15 after a Seward service error. The score remained deadlocked to 20-20 and then to 21-21 when Cloud used a 4-1 run to close out the set and win 25-22 to tie the match at 1.

It was Cloud County jumping out to an early advantage in the third, taking advantage of a number of Seward County hitting errors to go in front 11-7. After the T-Birds were called in the net on the next play, the Lady Saints went on a 7-0 run, getting a block from Minor and Lindsey Schwab and kills from Gasparini and Schwab to finish off the burst to give Seward a 14-11 lead. The Lady Saints kept their distance to 20-16 after a kill in the middle by Megan Sharratt, but Cloud hung around and had the Seward lead down to just two at 22-20 moments later. A well placed swing by Kristen Anderson put the Lady saints up 23-20 and Seward hung on to win thanks to back to back Cloud service errors 25-21.

The fourth set started as just a normal set, but would finish anything but that. The Lady Saints jumped out to a 4-1 lead on three Cloud County errors, but the T-Birds then flipped the script on Seward, using four straight Lady Saint errors to take a 13-7 lead of their own. Seward continued to trail throughout the middle of the set, falling behind by as many as seven at 17-10, but back to back kills from Schwab and a block by Schwab and Wood got Seward back on track and down just four. A pair of Cloud errors allowed the Lady Saints back to within two and a late kill by Wood tied the score up at 23. Seward got a crack at match point after a Cloud ball handling blunder, but the T-Birds got a kill to keep things going. Cloud then had a chance for set point after a kill and it looked like they were on their way to a win, but the T-Birds were called for a rotational error while serving and it turned the score from 25-24 Cloud to 25-24 Seward. The Lady Saints had three more chances at match point but got in their own way all three times with a hitting, service, and reception error to keep Cloud in the match. Cloud had a chance to close again with the score 28-27, but Minor picked up a big kill to tie the score at 28. A block by Gasparini and Sharratt gave Seward their fifth chance at the match, but again the T-Birds picked up the point and kept things going. The set remained tied at 30-30 and 31-31 when it looked like the Lady Saints had the match won on a kill by Minor but the ball was called out to the dismay of the Lady Saints bench and the set continued. The teams continued to go back and forth and back and forth to 35-35, breaking an all-time Seward County record for total points in a set at 70. Minor got another kill on the outside to make it 36-35 Lady Saints and on their 11th match point opportunity, Seward finally put the T-Birds away on a kill by Sharratt in the middle to win a wild 37-35 fourth set to take the match 3-1.

The Lady Saints finished the match with 64 kills, their most of the year and hit a solid .257 as a team on the night. For the third straight match Minor came up big, recording a team high 19 kills for Seward while Gasparini was second on the team with 13 kills and a .324 hitting percentage on 34 swings. Nacole Miller dished out a team best 26 assists while Taryn Bedore added 21 helpers. Kari Anderson led the Lady Saints with 25 digs while Gasparini had 18. Seward finished with 7 blocks as a team in the victory, led by Wood with 4 and 3 each from Schwab and Sharratt.

The win for the Lady Saints is the 30th straight over Cloud County. The last win for Cloud in the series was during the 1998 season. Seward finishes the regular season 23-18 overall and wraps up 3rd place in the Jayhawk West with a 10-6 mark. Cloud County falls to 18-8 on the year and loses the 3rd place tiebreaker with the Lady Saints to become the #4 seed for the upcoming Region VI Tournament.

The Lady Saints will have nine days off before playing again on Sunday, November 9th in Hutchinson where they will take on 6th seeded Butler in the final match of the night at 7:00.


Roy Allen


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