Friday the Seward County Lady Saints volleyball took part in day one of the T-Bird Invitational where they faced off against two top five teams in the country in #4 New Mexico and #5 Odessa where the Lady Saints were on the unfortunate end of a pair of sweeps against the Thunderbirds and Wranglers.
Game one of the T-Bird Invitational put the Lady Saints against their highest ranked opponent of the 2023 season in the #4 team in the country: New Mexico. NMJC took a quick lead in the first set over SCCC as the Thunderbirds grabbed a 7-2 lead but a strong kill through the block by Keala Wilson cut the deficit to three at 7-4. Seward County looked to fight back and take the lead but New Mexico pulled away with a 16-7 lead and the Lady Saints could not climb back as the Thunderbirds swiftly ended the first with a 25-13 finish that put NMJC up 1-0.
Seward County refused to back down as they grabbed their first lead of the match in the second set when Dora Filipovic dropped in an ace to put SCCC up 6-4 but were unable to maintain their lead as New Mexico retook their advantage, separating themselves from the Lady Saints 15-11. Filipovic tried to spark the Lady Saints fire with a strong kill to cut the Thunderbirds lead to 17-13 and a few points later Wilson was able to bring them to within one as she sent one cross court to bring the score to 22-21 but Seward County was unable to capitalize as the set went into extra points and New Mexico took the second 27-25.
Once again the Thunderbirds took a three point lead to start the third but some trickery from Rafaela DaSilva cut the NMJC lead to 5-3 but could not get any closer as New Mexico took a 15-7 lead over the Lady Saints. Wilson and Lajla Rasljanin formed a wall at the net for a block to bring the score to 17-11 and a few points later Filipovic connected on a kill from the pin to put it 22-15, but the Thunderbirds completed the sweep with a 25-18 score in the third and win the match 3-0.
SCCC had to turn right around after their first game of day one to quickly take on another top five team in the country in #5 Odessa. Seward County started their second match of the day strong with Rasljanin and DaSilva combining on the block to give the Lady Saints a 5-3 lead over the Wranglers but Odessa took the lead over SCCC a few points later. A solo block from Clara Duarte cut the Wranglers lead to 14-10 but could never find momentum and Odessa took the first 25-17.
Set two also started with a instant lead, but this time it was the Wranglers who took control early as they took a quick 12-6 lead over Seward County but the Lady Saints were able to capitalize off Odessa’s errors and bring the score to within two at 13-11. Wilson sent a rocket down the sideline to put the score at 19-15 and when Filipovic knocked one through the blocker for a kill it put SCCC with three at 21-18. It looked like the Lady Saints were closing in but Odessa once again took both the reigns and the set 25-18 to improve to 2-0 on the match.
The Wranglers began set three just as they did the second as they took control with a 5-2 lead over SCCC. Rasljanin threw the hammer down the middle to put the score at 7-3 with Odessa holding their lead firmly until Seward County was able to climb back and when Filipovic and Marcelina Pyka sent one back with a block they cut the Wrangler’s lead to one at 12-11. Every time the Lady Saints were able to find some rhythm, Odessa was able to find some to and stretch their lead back out as they forced SCCC into a timeout with 19-14 lead. Duarte and Rasljanin combined at the net to raise the roof to bring the score to within three at 20-17 but couldn’t get any closer as the Wranglers completed the 3-0 sweep with a 25-17 finish to the third.
Seward County volleyball will be back in action tomorrow for day two of the Thunderbird classic as they face off against Midland College at 10:00 AM in an early morning match and then a familiar face in Ranger College at 2:00 PM.