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Saints Suffer Misery in Missouri

KSCB News - October 27, 2014 1:31 pm

The Seward County Lady Saints picked the wrong time for their longest losing streak of the 2014 season this weekend in Hillsborough, Missouri, dropping all four contests they played in front of a 13 hour bus ride back from the Jefferson College Halloween Classic.

The Lady Saints opened a tough tournament slate against #16 Missouri State-West Plains on Friday in Hillsborough and got off to a rough start, falling behind 9-2 in the first set after four straight errors in four different ways. The Lady Saints regrouped and battled back, tying the score at 11 midway through the set, but it was another four pack of errors at the end of the set that finished them off in the first as they fell 25-18.

More early Seward mistakes put the Lady Saints in another hole in the second set as Missouri State-West Plains got out to a 7-4 lead and held that three point advantage to 16-13 later in the set. The Grizzlies looked like they had the set wrapped up as they led 23-19, but the Lady Saints kept fighting, getting a kill and an ace from Carolina Gasparini to make it a two point game and later fought off two set point chances for West Plains with kills from Carolina Freitas and Thayna Silva to tie the score at 24. The teams traded points to 25-25 when West Plains flexed their muscles, getting two kills to finish off the set and win 27-25.

For the third straight set, the Lady Saints worked themselves into a big hole in the third as eight errors in the first 12 points put Seward in the trail right off the bat 10-2. Seward once again battled after the slow start though and worked their way back to within three when back to back blocks from Angelina Minor and Carolina Freitas made it a one point game at 18-17. It remained a one point contest at 22-21, but the Lady Saints couldn’t mount one last comeback as West Plains scored three of the final four points to take the set 25-22 and the match 3-0.

The final stat sheet certainly didn’t paint the picture of a 3-0 West Plains sweep as the Lady Saints had more kills, blocks, and digs than the Grizzlies, but Seward also committed 43 errors in the match while West Plains committed just 13. Gasparini led Seward with 8 kills and 20 digs in the loss while Minor led the Lady Saints with a career high 7 blocks.


Things didn’t get any easier for the Lady Saints in their next match of the tournament as they squared off against red hot and 12th ranked Indian Hills. Seward went toe to toe with the Indians early in the first, grabbing a 7-3 lead to start play, but a 9-2 Indian Hills run quickly turned the tide and made it a 12-9 game in favor of the Indians. The Indian Hills run seemed to have popped the Lady Saints balloon in the first, as the Indians sprinted to the finish line, blowing Seward out 25-16 in the set to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

Once again in the second the Lady Saints got off to a good start. This time the gals in green took an 8-2 advantage to begin the set, getting an ace from Kari Anderson and a solo block from Alex Wood to lead the way. However, at nearly the same point as it fell apart in the first, it fell apart in the second for the Lady Saints as the Indians this time outscored Seward 9-1 through the middle of the set to take an 11-9 lead. It remained a two point lead in favor of Indian Hills to 18-16 when a big Seward block got them on a mini run in which they took the lead back at 20-19. A big Seward service error followed by a reception error took all of the Lady Saints momentum and Indian Hills closed the set on a 6-2 run to take the set 25-23 and go on top 2-0 in the match.

For the third straight set, it was Seward jumping on Indian Hills early in the third. A block by Megan Sharratt and Alex Wood put the Lady Saints up 6-2 and this time Seward held on to and extended their lead to 15-8 on a kill by Gasparini on an overpass. Indian Hills cut the Lady Saints lead back down to three later in the set, but Seward wasn’t going to let this one slip away as they closed out the Indians on a kill by Silva to take the third 25-21 and extend the match to the fourth.

For the first time in the match, the Lady Saints found themselves in an early hole in the fourth set against the Indians as Indian Hills jumped out to a 10-5 lead on a number of Seward mistakes. The Indians continued to keep their distance from the Lady Saints through the middle of the set and Seward wasn’t able to gain any ground as time passed and Indian Hills worked their way to match point at 24-19. A kill from Gasparini gave the Lady Saints the ball back and two straight blocks from Wood and Lindsey Schwab kept Seward alive with the score 24-22. The Lady Saints crept to within one on a kill by Silva, but weren’t able to pull off the big comeback as Indian Hills got a kill to finish the set 25-23 and the match 3-1.

The numbers for Seward once again weren’t too bad in the loss, but it was the error numbers that for the second straight match, hampered them from pulling off an upset against a ranked squad. This time the Lady Saints gave away 42 freebies to the Indians including 22 hitting errors and 8 service errors. Gasparini and Silva led Seward in the loss as they pair combined for 27 kills and 44 digs in the match. Sharratt had a career high 9 blocks for the Lady Saints who finished with 12 blocks as a team in the defeat, while Nacole Miller led Seward with 29 assists.


Seward opened Saturday’s action against the #3 ranked team in Division II, Illinois Central. The Lady Saints were forced to play from behind right off the bat as the Cougars got out to a 7-3 lead and extended that advantage to 14-8 in the first set. A kill by Gasparini got Seward the ball back and another kill from the Seward star later on cut the Cougar lead to 17-15. A big block by Silva and Schwab tied the set at 19 and a kill by Silva four points later put the Lady Saints on top 22-20. Illinois Central scored the next two points to tie the set at 22 and the teams traded points to 23-23 when a Cougar attack error gave the Lady Saints set point at 24-23. Seward went back to their red hot outside hitter in Gasparini for the win and the Brazilian delivered with a bullet down the line to give Seward the set 25-23 to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

The second set was even early on as the two teams worked their way to a 7-7 tie 14 points into it. It remained deadlocked at 9 when a 5-1 Illinois Central run put the Cougars on top 14-10. To get back into it, the Lady Saints went to the middle and went to the middle often as Sharratt banged down three kills in four points to tie the set back up at 17. But, in the end it was too much firepower from the Central side of the net as the Cougars closed the period by outscoring the Lady Saints 8-3 to knock Seward off 25-21.

The Lady Saints got out to a quick 3-1 lead in the second, but just as quick as that happened, the Cougars struck back and held a 10-6 lead of their own. A stretch of four straight Seward errors midway through the set gave Illinois Central a 15-10 lead and the Cougars never relinquished that advantage. It remained a five point lead for the Cougars to 20-15 and Illinois Central scored the final five points of the set to take it big 25-15. Seward managed just 4 kills as a team in the set, a season low and hit -.091 as a team in the double digit point defeat.

Illinois Central again jumped out of the gates with a lead in the fourth on the Lady Saints, going on top 11-4 as Seward continued to pile up the errors on their side of the net. The Lady Saints closed the gap to three at 12-9 after back to back aces from Sharratt, but two more errors quickly put the Cougars back in front by five at 14-9. Seward never recovered, watching Illinois Central take it right at their defense, opening up a seven point lead at 20-13 before cruising to the finish line to win 25-16 and take the match 3-1.

Seward finished the match with 48 errors compared to 35 for the Cougars in the loss. Gasparini was one of the lone brightspots for the Lady Saints in the defeat as the sophomore outside hitter continued to shine for Seward with 15 kills and 19 digs in her 16th double-double of the 2014 season. Nacole Miller also put u p a double-double in the loss, dishing out a season high 34 assists and also picking up 12 digs.


In their final match of the weekend, the Lady Saints had on paper what looked to be their best chance of a victory against the tournament host Jefferson College. Things didn’t begin so well for the gals in green though as Seward committed five errors in the first set points of the game to immediately fall behind 6-0 to the Vikings. The Lady Saints never recovered from the slow start, falling behind even further at 15-7 midway through the set before going down 25-17 in a set that was never close.

Seward came out firing in the second, getting kill after kill from Minor and Silva to push them out to a 9-5 advantage. The Lady Saints held the lead to the middle of the set, but Jefferson came back to tie the score at 15 on a Seward attack error wide. The Lady Saints fell behind 19-16 on another attack error, but they continued to plug away, getting a block from Gasparini and Sharratt to retake the lead at 20-19. A Seward service error tied the score at 22, but Jefferson gave it right back with a service error of their own and the Lady Saints used the swing in momentum to finish the set on a 3-1 run to take it 25-23 after a pair of kills from Silva.

The Lady Saints managed just one kill in the first 10 points of the third set and because of that found themselves behind 7-3 to the Vikings. They played catch up the whole way, closing the JeffCo lead to a pair twice, but were never able to get closer than that as Jefferson led from start to finish in a 25-21 final to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

Another atrocious start for the Lady Saints in the fourth gave Seward a 7-2 hole to climb out of early on. Seward closed to 10-7 on a pair of Jefferson errors, but back to back reception errors for the Lady Saints pushed the Viking lead back to five at 12-7. Play was sloppy between both sides through the middle of the set and it allowed Seward to close to back within striking distance where they got a kill from Minor and then a block from Minor and Erika Gilbert to tie the score up at 14. The score went back and forth to 20-20 when a pair of Jefferson kills and a Seward ball handling error did the Lady Saints in as Jefferson scored the final five points in the set to win 25-20 and take the match 3-1.

For the fourth straight time on the weekend, the Lady Saints pains were self-inflicted. Seward finished this one with 48 errors, with 19 of those coming on blocking and ball handling blunders. Silva led the Lady Saints with 14 kills and 16 digs in the match while Gasparini finished with her fourth straight double-double with 10 kills and 18 digs. Minor put together one of her best offensive efforts of the season with 12 kills and a .357 hitting percentage. On the Seward backline, libero Kari Anderson shined in the match, recording a career best 39 digs for the Lady Saints.


The 0-4 weekend leaves the Lady Saints at 22-17 overall on the season. Seward will return to Jayhawk West action this week as they wrap up their conference schedule with a Tuesday road date at Pratt and a Thursday home contest against Cloud County. A pair of wins for Seward would guarantee them no worse than 3rd place in the Jayhawk West standings while anything else could see the Lady Saints fall as far at 5th.

Roy Allen


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