Jay Daubenberger

Liberal, KAN. – Seward County volleyball busted the Broncbusters from Garden City on Wednesday night, taking three out of five sets in a tough overall conference match that went back and forth throughout the night with each set going wire to wire.

The Lady Saints started the first set with a quick kill down the middle from Clara Duarte to take an early 1-0 lead that was quickly evaporated by Garden City who tallied up an 8-3 lead in the first. Seward County was never out of reach though, never being behind by more than five points. A cross court kill from Dora Filipovic helped bring the Lady Saints to within one at 23-22 in favor of GCCC, and after back-to-back errors from the Broncbusters, Seward County was able to retake their lead in the first at 24-23. SCCC was not able to maintain their lead for long as Garden City scored two quick points to take the first 26-24 and take a 1-0 lead over the Lady Saints.

Seward County refused to back down to their rival in Garden City as the two teams went point-for-point, matching the Broncbusters until back-to-back kills from Filipovic allowed the Lady Saints to take a 6-5 lead and they never trailed again in the second set. Rafaela DaSilva connected with Duarte for another kill to increase their lead to 10-8 and a kill from the pin by Keala Wilson grew the lead to three at 14-11. Around that time a switch turned on for Filipovic as she quickly wreaked havoc on GCCC, scoring four of the Lady Saints next six points to increase their advantage to 21-17. Garden City would not budge however as they quickly tied the second up at 24-24 with hopes of repeating their result from the first, but Seward County had other plans as they were able to take the set 26-24 and tie up the match at 1-1.

Set three had the same script as the first two as once again the two teams exchanged blows early on until Garden City managed to extend their lead to a five-point advantage at 9-4. DaSilva was able to find Wilson at the pin for a kill down the line to cut the deficit to 10-6 and when Filipovic connected on two more kills a few points later, SCCC was able to get to within one at 11-10. Once again, the sophomore connection between DaSilva and Duarte resulted in another kill down the middle to tie the set at 14-14, but that was as close to a lead as they would see as Garden City never relinquished their advantage. The Bronbusters retook their lead and maintained it for the rest of the third, taking the set 25-23 and a 2-1 advantage over SCCC.

The Lady Saints had their backs to the wall and needed to take the fourth in order to remain in the match, and Seward County took a quick 2-0 lead off the bat and never looked back. Two more kills from Filipovic brought the lead to 4-1 that lead slowly grew throughout the fourth and four straight kills from the Lady Saints capped off by a hammer from Lajla Rasljanin to go up 13-6. The onslaught continued as SCCC never trailed in the fourth and an ace from Winiffer Rodriguez gave Seward County a 24-18 lead before the Lady Saints finally wrapped up the set 25-19 to force a fifth and final set.

Just as the previous four sets went, so went the fifth as once again neither team refused to give the other a chance to take the lead. DaSilva found Rasljanin on the slide to put SCCC up 3-1 but the Broncbusters quickly tied things up at 5-5 a few points later. Duarte let it be known who’s house Garden City was in as the second year Lady Saint struck down two straight kills to give Seward County a 9-7 advantage and two more from Wilson increased that lead to 11-7, eventually finishing off the fifth 15-11 and giving the Lady Saints a 3-2 victory over Garden City.

Filipovic led the way once again for Seward County with her second 20+ kill match, recording a career high of 27 kills on a .297 hitting percentage while also recording 16 digs on the afternoon. She was followed by Duarte who had 15 kills on a .351 hit percentage and Wilson who added on 13 kills of her own to go with 18 digs. Rafaela DaSilva had a career night with 59 assists to go with 17 digs and even struck down 4 kills as well while Rodriguez once again racked up the dig numbers with 31 digs.

Seward County now improves to 8-4 on the season with a 2-1 conference record in KJCCC play. They will now head to their final tournament of the regular season at the T-Bird Classic where they will face off with #4 New Mexico and #5 Odessa on day one of the two day tournament.