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Seward Chops Down Beavers in Five

KSCB News - October 19, 2015 1:34 pm

In a match that nearly identically mirrored the first meeting of the season between the Seward County Lady Saints and the Pratt Lady Beavers for the first four sets of action, this time instead of a Seward fifth set win on Saturday, it was a Beaver victory to all but eliminate Seward from the Jayhawk West race with three matches to go, while making the race for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs a whole lot more interesting.

Seward got off to a slow start in their Saturday afternoon matinee with Pratt in the Beaverdome, falling behind 8-6 to start the action in the first. They found their footing to take their first lead of the day later on, holding a 12-10 lead at the midway point of the set after a kill from Kaysie Paxton. Seward held their two point lead to 18-16 after an ace from Jade Piper and extended it to three on a block from Viviane Viana and Megan Sharratt to make it 19-16 late in the first. On their home court, the Beavers roared back, tying the score at 20 and then at 22 moments later. With the score deadlocked at 22, back to back Seward miscues proved costly as Pratt took a 24-22 lead before finishing the set off with a kill to win the first 25-23.

The second set had the same feel as the first early on as it was another slow starter for the Lady Saints, giving the Beavers a two point advantage before a Seward comeback took them to a 12-9 lead at the halfway point. This time the Lady Saints continued pushing, opening their lead to 16-11 on a kill from Maritza Mesa and then all the way to nine on three straight kills in the middle from Sharratt to blow it open to 23-14. Pratt made a small push late in the set, but it wasn’t nearly enough as Seward closed them out 25-17 to even the match at one. The Lady Saints hit .444 in the set, banging home 16 kills with just four errors in 27 swings.

The Lady Saints finally got off to a good start in the third, but couldn’t hold the momentum as they watched an early 5-3 lead turn into a 13-10 midset deficit. Seward’s pass struggled as Pratt extended their lead to 18-13 later in the period. The Lady Saints were never able to get back into the set, coming no closer than five at 22-17 before Pratt put them away 25-18 to go ahead 2-1 in the match. Seward committed seven hitting errors in the set, finishing with just a .125 hitting percentage.

Seward bolted out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth, getting kills from Viana on the outside, Sharratt in the middle, and Paxton on the right side in the process. They held the lead to 9-6, but went ice cold after that, watching Pratt score five straight to take an 11-9 lead of their own. The Beavers continued to lead through the middle portion of the set, extending their cushion to three at 16-13. Seward regrouped to score three straight to tie the score at 16 and the two went back and forth with neither team leading by more than one until a 22-22 stalemate late in the set. An ace by Viana reenergized the Lady Saints and gave them a 23-22 lead before a kill from Alex Wood and another ace by Viana sealed the deal, giving Seward a 25-22 win to force a deciding fifth set.

The Lady Saints hurt themselves mightily early on in the fifth, committing service errors on each of their first three chances to fall behind 6-3. Seward got back in the set with a big block from Sharratt and Mesa and then tied the score at 7-7 just before the changeover. Another Lady Saint service mistake gave Pratt the lead as the teams changed sides and the Beavers went on to score the next two points as well to go in front 10-7. Another big block later in the set drew the Lady Saints to within two at 13-11, but their fifth service error of the set and 15th of the match was the final straw as it handed Pratt three match point opportunities on a silver platter and the Beavers needed just two, finishing off Seward with a kill down the line to take the fifth 15-12 and the match 3-2.

In an alarming trend of late, the Lady Saints continued to hand opposing teams free points, Saturday giving the Beavers 51 on their errors. Seward managed 60 kills in the loss, but did commit 26 hitting errors to finish the match at .236 as a team. Their big downfall came in the serve and receive game where the Lady Saints committed their most service errors in a Jayhawk West match this season with 15 and also had seven reception errors. Offensively Wood paced Seward with 15 kills, while also playing big on the defensive end with 17 digs and five blocks. Paxton had her best offensive day as a Lady Saint in the losing effort, hitting a career high .529 with a seasons best nine kills without a single error in 17 swings. Piper dished out 32 assists to lead the way for the Lady Saints while fellow setter Amanda Pereira had 20 helpers and 13 digs for a double-double. Belissa Guidotti led the Lady Saints blocking attack with six blocks in the loss while Viana had a team best 22 digs for Seward County.

The loss is a costly one for the Lady Saints who fall to 21-11 overall and 10-3 in conference action, all but eliminating them from Jayhawk West title contention with three matches to go. Now Seward will have to put their claws in to hang onto the second spot in the conference standings where they currently sit ½ game in front of Cloud County who they will take on next Monday in Concordia. The win is a big one for Pratt who improves to 17-13 on the season and remains in the hunt for a home playoff date as they go to 8-4 in league action.

Next up for Seward is a road trip to Garden City on Wednesday to take on the Busters before making a 24 plus round trip venture to Hillsborough, Missouri this weekend to take part in the JeffCo Halloween Classic.

SEWARD COUNTY/PRATT BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/wvball/2015-16/boxscores/20151017_xcmx.xml>

Roy Allen

 

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