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Saints Survive Day 1 at Tyler

Brock Kappelmann - September 30, 2017 7:34 am

TYLER, Texas. – The No. 6 Lady Saints continued their winning ways on Friday, defeating Wharton and narrowly defeating No. 13 Navarro in the Tyler Invitational. Seward won in four sets against Wharton (15-25, 25-15, 25-18, 15-17) before escaping with a five-set win against Navarro (25-17, 25-13, 24-26, 23-25, 15-10).


Two days following a close four-set victory in Hutchinson, the Lady Saints found themselves in a tight match against Wharton. The first set was perhaps the worst set of the season for the Lady Saints as it was riddled with errors. With the first eleven points being swapped between the two teams, Wharton went on a 6-0 run against the Lady Saints to make the score 12-5.

Wharton wasn’t done with runs, as they extended their lead to 10 following an 8-5 run, which included six Seward errors. The Lady Saints cut the lead to seven, but the Pioneers quickly got it back to ten, winning the set 25-15.

The Lady Saints quickly corrected their ways in the second set, hitting .550 with only three errors. Once again, the two teams traded points to start the set until it was tied at eight. The Lady Saints proceeded to go on a 6-0 run, starting with a Giovanna Tapigliani kill.

While the first set was one of runs for Wharton, the second became a set of runs for Seward. Following their 6-0 run came runs of 8-4 and 5-3 to end the set. The Lady Saints came away with five kills, three service aces and three blocks during those runs.

The Lady Saints jumped out to an early 9-5 lead in the third set with kills coming from Giovanna Kuntze, Mariana Nascimento, Viviane Viana and Tapigliani. Seward extended their lead to 15-10 before the Pioneers began fighting their way back into the set. Wharton won six of the next eight points, cutting the lead to one at 17-16. Viana quickly stopped the Pioneer momentum, scoring five of the final seven Lady Saint points. Four of the points came from kills, while she ended the set with a block.

Set four began with the Lady Saints falling behind 3-6. Seward slowly crept back into the set, tying it at 14 before going on a 11-3 run to end the set. Luz Sierra came away with three of the final eleven points, while Viana finished the set and the match with a kill.

Three Lady Saints finished with double-digit kills – Mariana Nascimento (11), Giovanna Tapigliani (12), and Viviane Viana (13). Giovanna Kuntze averaged 10 assists per set, finishing with 40 total.

Erica Ferreira (10) and Nathiellen Machado (13) both finished with double-digit digs. Luz Sierra continued to be a force at the net, blocking seven attempts, her 12th match with at least five blocks.


The second match of the day started with the Lady Saints dominating No. 13 Navarro. Set one began with the two team trading points through the first twelve, tied at 6-6. Two service aces by Giovanna Tapigliani and three errors by the Bulldogs quickly gave the Lady Saints an 11-6 lead. The Lady Saints continued to extend their lead throughout the rest of the set as Nascimento contributed three of the final five points for the Lady Saints, giving them set one 25-17.

The Lady Saints hit their groove in set two, starting the set with a 10-0 run after losing the first two points. During the run, Kuntze had three services aces, while Sierra contributed four points and Tapigliani three. With only four errors in the second set, Seward never gave Navarro a chance to win it. The set ended with a Nascimento kill, with the Lady Saints winning 25-13.

The match seemed destined to end like so many have before – in a sweep. The Bulldogs had other plans though. Navarro jumped out to a sizable 8-2 advantage to start the third set. The Lady Saints fought valiantly back into the set, tying it late at 22 following a Tapigliani kill. Erica Ferreira responded with a kill of her own, giving the Lady Saints their first lead of the set. The Bulldogs would tie it at 23 before Nascimento gave the Lady Saints the lead again. However, a well-timed timeout help the Bulldogs switch the momentum and win the next three points and the set, 26-24.

With momentum now on their side, Navarro led or tied the fourth set for all but six points. Through the first 16 points, neither team could get the upper-hand until Nascimento recorded a kill to jumpstart a 4-2 run for the Lady Saints. The two-point lead would be the largest of the set for Seward, and wouldn’t last long. The Bulldogs responded quickly with an 8-2 run of their own. Down four points and trying to finish the match, the Lady Saints came storming back, tying it at 22. Seward proceeded with three errors, giving the Bulldogs a 25-23 win, forcing a decisive fifth set.

With all the momentum on Navarro’s side, it looked grim for the Lady Saints in the fifth set. What ensued, however, was a perfect set played by the Lady Saints as the rode the back of Sierra. Of the first four Lady Saint points, Sierra had three, all through kills. Up 6-3, she wasn’t finished, scoring two straight service aces giving the Lady Saints the 8-3 advantage as the teams switch sides.

The Bulldogs fought back into the set, going on a 4-1 run and pulling within one. A Kuntze kill helped stop the run. Briana Domino subbed in to serve and immediately picked up an ace, giving the Lady Saints a three-point lead. The Bulldogs cut the lead to two again, but a block by Sierra helped keep the distance and begin a 3-0 run to end the set, 15-10 and give the Lady Saints the 3-2 victory.

The Lady Saints ended the match with 63 kills, as Sierra (14), Nascimento (16) and Tapigliani (17) all recorded double-digit kills. Sierra had an unbelieve match, scoring a career high 24.5 points off 14 kills and a career-high 10 blocks.

Tapigliani also recorded a double-double, but with digs, finishing with 12 to go along with her 17 kills. Four other Lady Saints finished with double-digit digs – Nathiellen Machado (10), Erica Ferreira (10), Kuntze (14), and Viana (14).

The Lady Saints will play again tomorrow (Sep. 30) at 1 p.m. against No. 8 Hill before finishing the weekend at 3 p.m. against Tyler.

Ian Applegate


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