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Saints Win Tight Battle in Hutchinson

Brock Kappelmann - September 28, 2017 6:19 am

HUTCHINSON, Kan. – For the first time in seven years, the Lady Saints defeated Hutchinson on the Blue Dragons home court. Seward came away with a tough 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 26-24, 25-13) victory to stay perfect in conference play.

The Lady Saints (18-1, 7-0) knew it would be a battle inside the Hutchinson Sports Area. The first set began with the teams staying even through the first five points. Mariana Nascimento recorded a kill that helped kick start a 4-2 run to give the Lady Saints a three-point lead at 9-6. The Lady Saints extended their lead to five points, going up 16-11 with a kill by Briana Domino. Seward kept that lead the rest of the set, winning 25-20.

The Blue Dragons (14-7, 7-2) bounced back in set two, taking a commanding 6-2 lead early on. The Lady Saints were to blame for the hole, as they were responsible for five errors during the early run. Seward turned right around and took the lead with a 6-1 run of their own, with three points coming from Domino kills. The remainder of the set stayed even until the 19-19 mark. Another Seward error gave the Blue Dragons the momentum they needed as they scored six of the final seven points, taking set two 25-21.

Following their first set lost to a conference opponent in five matches, the Lady Saints came out strong in the third set, going up 5-1 to start. A timeout by Hutch cooled Seward down and allowed the Blue Dragons to go on a 6-0 run and take a two-point lead.

Set three was one of runs, with neither team able to gain a significant advantage. Midway through the set, the Lady Saints went on a 4-1 run, putting them up 14-11, however, the Blue Dragons turned around with a 5-1 run of their own. Up 23-20 toward the end of the set, the Lady Saints allowed a 4-1 run to force extra points. A Lady Saints timeout helped Seward gather themselves and win the following two points and the set, 26-24.

Following some sloppy play in the first three sets, the Lady Saints found their rhythm in the fourth, reminding everyone why they are ranked No. 6 in the country. While the set started tight at five a piece, an ace by Giovanna Tapigliani helped guide the Lady Saints to a 11-3 run, capped with a block by Luz Sierra. The Lady Saints went on another sizable 9-3 run to end the set, 25-12 and win the match 3-1.

The win over the Blue Dragons marked their fifth win over a top 25 opponent this season. The Lady Saints finished the match with 57 kills, with Mariana Nascimento leading the pack with 15 efficient kills, hitting .538. Briana Domino (13/20) and Viviane Viana (10/17) both ended with double-doubles. Giovanna Kuntze put her teammates in position all night, ending with 44 assists.

Defensively, Seward recorded 103 digs on the match, a four-set season high. Two Lady Saints – Nathiellen Machado (24) and Domino (20) – finished with twenty digs, while two more – Viana (17) and Kuntze (12) – finished with double-digit digs. The Lady Saints ended with ten team blocks, led by Luz Sierra’s season-high 8 blocks.

The Lady Saints will travel to Tyler, Texas this weekend to participate in the Tyler Invite where they will go up against Wharton and No. 13 Navarro on Friday (Sep. 29) before finishing the weekend against No. 8 Hill and Tyler on Friday.

Ian Applegate


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