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Saints Stumble in Sterling

KSCB News - September 15, 2014 6:37 am

The Seward County Lady Saints continued to be a tough team to figure out on Saturday morning in Sterling, Colorado at the 2014 Pizza Hut Classic hosted by Northeastern Junior College. After knocking off 14-1 Laramie County in straight sets to close out play Friday night, Seward was drubbed 3-0 by Casper in their first match of the day Saturday and followed that up with a 3-1 loss to Northwest to finish the tournament 1-3 and to fall to 10-7 on the year.

Early on in their first matchup of the day against Casper, the Lady Saints looked like they would carry their momentum from a big Friday win, right into the weekend. Seward got three straight kills early on from Thayna Silva and Carolina Gasparini to grab a quick 3-1 lead. Casper came back and grabbed their first lead of the set, but a kill from Kristen Anderson got the Lady Saints back to within one at 7-6. It was 8-7 Casper when the wheels fell off for the Lady Saints in the first set. The Thunderbirds got a pair of kills to take a 10-7 lead and four straight Lady Saint errors quickly put Casper out in front 14-7. Seward cut the lead back to four on a kill from Erika Gilbert, but in no time, a 6-0 Casper run had the Lady Saints in trouble, trailing 20-11. The hole was too big for the Lady Saints to recover from after that as Casper took a 10 point lead at 22-12 before finally finishing Seward off 25-15.

The second set was almost a mirror image of the first as Seward started well, taking an early lead, before going cold and playing catch up the rest of the way. Casper led 8-4 and held that lead to the midway point of the set at 12-8. Back to back Seward errors put them in a six point hold, but they battled back to keep it close and after a kill from Gasparini, it was just a four point game at 18-14. But once again it was the T-Birds who sprinted to the finish line, leaving the Lady Saints in their dust. Casper finished the set on a 7-3 run, using poor Seward passing and a potent defense at the net to shut down the Lady Saints and take the set 25-17 to grab a 2-0 lead in the match.

Just when it looked like the Lady Saints were down and out of the match, they came out like gangbusters in the third set, getting kills from four different players to begin the set to take a 6-2 lead. Seward continued to push, growing their lead to 10-2 and then 13-3 after back to back kills from Silva and Gasparini. Casper showed a little bit of fight at the midway point of the set, but Seward kept their distance from the T-Birds, holding a 16-8 lead moments later. A Seward service error didn’t seem much of a deterrent at the time, but the play shifted momentum to the side of the T-Birds and Casper didn’t let up from there . Casper scored seven straight points to draw to within one before Seward finally got the ball back on a sideout. They kept the serve for just one point to take an 18-16 lead before Casper got back on their roll. Seward’s back row fell flat, unable to handle anything that Casper threw at them and after six straight Lady Saint errors, the T-Birds had their first lead of the set at 22-18. The teams traded points to 23-19 and the Lady Saints scored to make it a three point contest, but another costly service error did them in as Casper closed to match point and finished the Lady Saints off on their first try to win 25-20 and take the match 3-0.

Silva once again did the bulk of the damage for the Seward offense, leading the team with 13 kills while also registering a team high 20 digs in her eighth double-double of the season. No other Seward player had more than 6 kills in the loss. Nacole Miller led the Lady Saints with 21 assists in the defeat while libero Kari Anderson was second to Silva with 19 digs. In her first action of the season, Gilbert gave the Lady Saints a boost with 3 blocks including 2 of the solo variety in the match.


After a short break and a stomach full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, the Lady Saints took the court for their final contest of the weekend against Northwest. Seward came out firing, again, getting three early kills from Gasparini and Silva to jump out to a quick 3-0 lead. Seward continued to lead and looked quite in control as they extended the gap to 12-6 on back to back Gasparini kills midway through the set. The Lady Saints didn’t let up, building their lead to as many as nine late in the set on an ace from Silva before closing the Trappers out on a kill from Taryn Bedore to win 25-18. Seward had 15 kills on 33 chances in the first, good for a .303 hitting percentage as a team.

To begin the second, the Lady Saints looked like a completely different team. They started down 4-0 before finally getting things going, but their four point deficit held to 9-5 after an attack error. A Northwest service error got the Lady Saints to within three, but they got no closer in the set. Northwest extended their advantage to 15-8 and continued to tack on, taking a 22-13 lead as Seward was called in the net late in the period. The Lady Saints never put up a fight in the second as Northwest came away with an easy 25-16 win to knot the match at 1.

Unfortunately for the gals in green, it was more of the same in the all important third set. After tying the score at 2 early on, Northwest rolled off seven straight points, four of those coming as a gift from the Lady Saints, to go up 9-2. Seward watched the Trapper lead balloon to 15-5 before making their first push of the set, scoring five straight points to draw to within striking distance at 15-10. That hope was short lived however as Northwest pushed their lead back to 17-10 on a Seward attack error and after the Lady Saints got a point on a Trapper service error, Northwest reeled off seven more consecutive points to make the score 24-11 before putting the Lady Saints out of their misery 25-12.

Seward’s struggled continued into the fourth set where before they could even look up, they found themselves in another giant hole at 11-4. Northwest extended their lead to nine at 14-5 on back to back Lady Saint errors before a quick 4-0 Seward run got them back to within five. The Lady Saints kept pushing and a block from Carolina Freitas and Lindsey Schwab, followed by a kill from Alex Wood had Seward’s deficit down to just three at 15-12. The Lady Saints closed to within two at 16-14 when a crucial service error seemed to have popped Seward’s balloon and all hope was lost after the Lady Saints got the ball back and crunched another serve into the net. The Lady Saints never threatened again as Northwest finished them off 25-20 to take the match 3-1 and send Seward home 1-3 on the weekend.

An exhausted Silva paced Seward with 14 kills in the loss while Gasparini finished with 11 kills for the Lady Saints. Again, Seward struggled to find contributions anywhere else as the next best hitter for the Lady Saints managed just 4 kills. Gasparini chalked up her second double-double of the weekend as she tied for the team lead with 13 digs to go along with the 11 kills. Miller dished out 21 assists for the Lady Saints and Gilbert had 3 blocks to lead the team for the second straight match.


The forgettable weekend for the Lady Saints leaves them with numerous question marks and just a 10-7 overall record as they head into a huge Jayhawk West battle with Hutchinson on Wednesday in the Sports Arena. The Lady Saints and Lady Dragons will get things underway at 6:30 in the Salt City in a match that is sure to have Jayhawk West title implications in November.


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