Seward Completes Undefeated Conference Season
Brock Kappelmann - October 29, 2017 8:25 am
LIBERAL, Kan. – The No. 3 Seward County volleyball team finished their quest for an undefeated Jayhawk West season Wednesday night, defeating Hutchinson 3-1 (25-23, 27-25, 20-25, 25-22). It marks the first time since 2000 that the Lady Saints have gone undefeated in conference play, when the finished 8-0. At 16-0, it is the most conference wins for the Lady Saints in program history.
It wasn’t easy for the Lady Saints (31-1, 16-0) to get their final victory, however, as Hutch was primed for an upset, leading late in every set, except for the fourth. The Lady Saints jumped out to an early 4-1 lead with some energetic play from Giovanna Tapigliani and Viviane Viana. The Blue Dragons fought their way back from the early deficit, tying it at 8-8 and taking the lead two points later. The Lady Saints trailed the remainder of the set, until it was 22-22. Seward got the three points they needed for the victory coming from two Tapigliani kills and one from Viana.
The second set looked to be less nerve-racking for the Lady Saints, as they went up 6-4 and were able to extend the lead to 13-7 after a Briana Domino kill. Just as it looked like the Seward would pull away, with the score 18-13, the Blue Dragons clawed their way back, winning eight of the next eleven points to take the lead, 21-20. Hutch pushed the lead to 24-23 to come within one point of winning the set. At that point, Luz Sierra took over for the Lady Saints. Sierra score four out of the remaining five points in the set, three by blocks and one by a kill, to give the Lady Saints set two, 27-25.
One set away from an undefeated Jayhawk Season, the Lady Saints jumped out to another early 6-4 lead. A timeout by the Blue Dragons gave them the spark they needed to refocus and tie the set at six, before taking the lead 8-7. The Lady Saints struggled the rest of the way. Unable to flip the momentum, the Blue Dragons slowly extended their lead to six, with the scoring being 24-18. Seward scored two straight to come within four points, but a Hutchinson kill on the next point ended the set, giving the Blue Dragons the win, 25-20.
The four set was the lone set that the Lady Saints never trailed. They took an early 7-4 lead over the Blue Dragons with a Mariana Nascimento kill. Hutch fought back into the set, tying it at 11, but the Lady Saints quickly turned the momentum in their favor with two straight kills by Sierra. Seward pushed the lead to 21-16, but were once again unable to stop the Blue Dragons from creeping back into the set, as Hutch won four-straight to pull within one point. Viana ended the run with two straight kills. The Blue Dragons managed to win one more point, but Tapigliani ended the set with a kill, giving the Lady Saints the set 25-22, and the match, 3-1.
The Lady Saints came away with 60 kills on the night, led by Nascimento’s 17. Tapigliani (15) and Sierra (10) both hit double-digit kills as well. Giovanna Kuntze tied a season high in assists in a four-set match, coming away with 54. The Lady Saints finished one assist shy of tying the season-high of 59 combined assists.
Nathiellen Machado held the libero coming away with 21 digs and 31 receiving attempts without a single error. Tapigliani (12), Viana (11) and Domino (10) each finished with double-digit digs. The double-double for Tapigliani marks her 9th double-double of the season. Sierra finished with a team-high six blocks, her 18th match with at least five blocks.
The Lady Saints will open up post-season play on Tuesday (Oct. 31) at 6:30 p.m. when the host the Pratt Beavers in the first round of the Region VI Tournament.
Sports Information Director
Seward County Community College