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Seward Splits in Scottsbluff

Brock Kappelmann - September 19, 2016 7:07 am

Seward County sophomore star Maritza Mesa would admit that Friday night’s loss to #1 Western Nebraska wasn’t a real fun one for her. Not only did the ultra-competitive Mesa have to endure a loss with her teammates, but personally she struggled too, finishing with season lows in both kills and digs with just four and three respectively. She made up for the off night in a big way on Saturday as the Lady Saints wrapped up action in the Wyo-Braska Shootout in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, banging away on 33 kills in two Seward matches, leading the gals in green to a four set win over Sheridan and a tough four set battle with 2015 National Semifinalist Northwest to leave the Lady Saints 2-2 at the end of the weekend.

Coming off of a pair of late night battles on Friday at the Wyo-Braska Shootout, the Seward County Lady Saints took the court once again early Saturday morning in the tournament, taking on the Sheridan Rams in the opening match of a split doubleheader. Seward showed no ill-effects of the quick turnaround against the Rams in the first, jumping out to a 15-10 lead, highlighted by a solo block from Belissa Guidotti to give the Lady Saints the five point advantage midway through. Seward continued to lead by four at 20-16 on a kill from Kaysie Paxton, but they went cold from there as Sheridan roared back to tie the score at 20 and then take a 21-20 lead with five straight points. Maritza Mesa did her best to will Seward back with four kills in the final nine points of the set, but it wasn’t enough as the Rams went on to win 27-25 to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

The Lady Saints looked like they were in trouble as Sheridan quickly built a 10-5 lead in the second as they looked to take a 2-0 lead. It continued to be a five point Ram lead later on until back to back kills from Mesa and an ace from defensive specialist Jazlyn Smith cut the deficit to two for Seward. The Lady Saints remained down by two at 20-18 when they finally threw things into high gear, scoring six straight and seven of the next eight points to finish the set, winning 25-21 to even the match at one. Seward hit .520 in the set as a team, finishing off 14 kills with just one error in 25 swings for the win.

Seward again found themselves in a hole early in the third, but recovered to even the score at nine before pushing ahead with three straight points to take a 12-9 lead midway through the period. Three straight from Sheridan tied the score again but a pair of kills from Mariana Nascimento and an ace from Daimond Aguinaldo spurred a 7-1 run for the Lady Saints to give them a 19-13 lead. The push was just what the doctor ordered for the Lady Saints as they cruised to the finish line, winning 25-16 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

With momentum on their side, the Lady Saints raced out to an 11-6 lead in the fourth thanks to a kill and solo block from Paxton midway through the set. They continued to add on to their advantage, eventually cresting their lead at 21-10 to take the wind out of the sails of any thought of a Ram comeback. A Sheridan service error eventually did the Rams in as Seward took the gift to finish a 25-13 win, wrapping up a 3-1 win in the match.

Mesa and Nascimento carried the Lady Saints in the win as Mesa hammered home 18 kills, just one off of her career high, while also pulling up a career best 15 digs for Seward and Nascimento smashed 13 kills with a career best .591 hitting percentage without a single error. Amanda Pereira dished out 31 assists for the Lady Saints while Aguinaldo led Seward with 17 digs in the victory.


In their final match of a busy weekend, the Lady Saints took on Northwest, who finished 3rd in the 2015 NJCAA National Tournament. Northwest set their trap and caught the Lady Saints early on as the Trappers bolted out to an 11-4 lead to start the match and never let Seward back in in the first, going on to take a 1-0 lead with a 25-13 victory.

The second set was a back and forth battle early on as Seward and Northwest found themselves in a stalemate at the midway mark with the score tied 11-11. From that point on, the Lady Saints looked like they were shot out of a cannon, scoring four straight, including back to back points on solo blocks from Nascimento to take a 15-11 lead before extending their lead to five later on on a solo stuff from Paxton to make it 20-15. Not done there, Seward scored five of the final seven points of the period, coming away with a 25-17 win to even the match up at one.

Northwest took the early advantage in the third and kept the Lady Saints at bay the rest of the way. Seward closed to within two midway through the set, but a service error stopped their momentum and pushed the Trapper lead back to three. It remained a three point game late at 20-17, but the Lady Saints never got any closer as Northwest closed out the set strong, winning 25-20 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

Seward battled hard at the beginning and end of the fourth set with their backs to the wall, but it would be the middle portion of the set that did them in. The set was tied at five early on when a 9-1 Northwest run pushed the Trappers out to a comfortable lead at 14-6. Slowly the Lady Saints worked their way back into the set, creeping up to within three at 22-19 and then closing to within two on an ace from Pereira with the match in the balance. After a Northwest sideout, the Trappers committed back to back hitting errors, getting Seward to within one at 24-23. But with the money on the line, Northwest closed the Lady Saints out, picking up the final point to win 25-23 and take the match 3-1.

Seward hurt themselves in the four set loss, committing 38 errors, including 11 service and nine reception blunders. Mesa had herself a near clean match however, smashing 15 kills with just one error, good for a .424 hitting percentage in the loss. Paxton was the other offensive bright spot for Seward as she finished with a season high 12 kills, while the rest of the Lady Saints offense managed just 11 kills and eight errors as a group.


The Saturday split moves Seward to 12-5 on the season. The Lady Saints busy schedule will finally slow down some this week as they play just twice as they get back into Jayhawk West Conference play, taking on Dodge City at home Wednesday before going on the road to take on Barton on Saturday.

Here’s the recap of Friday’s action.
September 16, 2016

The Seward County Lady Saints played two hard fought matches Friday at the Wyo-Braska Shootout in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, winning a five set marathon against Laramie County before turning around and playing #1 Western Nebraska tough in a three set loss to split on day one of action in the Husker State.

It took the Lady Saints a while to get going in their first match of the tournament as they took on a solid 9-3 Laramie County squad. Seward fell behind 9-4 in the first before an 8-0 run, highlighted by three straight aces from Erica Ferreira put the Lady Saints in front 12-9. They never looked back from there in the first, going on to finish the set on an incredible 21-4 run to take the set 25-13 to grab a 1-0 lead in the match.

Seward used early Laramie mistakes against the Golden Eagles in the second, jumping out to a 6-0 lead on just a single point earned by the Lady Saints. Seward looked well in control getting a solo block and then a kill from Maritza Mesa to make it 10-2 before pushing their lead to double digits at 14-4 on a kill from setter Amanda Pereira midway through. But just as the Lady Saints did in the first, the Golden Eagles answered with a huge run in the second to get back into the game. Laramie scored 12 of the next 14 points, turning a 10 point Seward lead into a 17-17 deadlock. The Lady Saints retook the lead momentarily, but they couldn’t slow the Eagle roll as Laramie kept momentum on their side, finishing off the set 25-23 to even the match at one a piece.

The Lady Saints took their frustrations out on the Golden Eagles in the third, jumping out to a quick 5-1 lead early on before pushing that advantage to 13-4 midway through, once again behind a strong effort at the service line from Ferreira. Laramie stormed back once again to get to within three at 14-11, but this time the Lady Saints didn’t cough up the lead, holding the Eagles off and eventually creating some distance and finishing them off 25-16 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

The fourth set was the most contested of the match as the two jostled back and forth to a 9-9 tie early on and a 14-13 Laramie lead midway through. It was a two point Golden Eagle advantage at 18-16 when the Lady Saints shot themselves in the foot, committing four straight errors to see their deficit grow to six. The rough patch was enough to do the Lady Saints in as Seward was unable to get any closer than two the rest of the way home as Laramie closed it out 25-23 to even the match at two and send it to a deciding fifth set.

Seward came out fired up and ready to go in the fifth, getting a kill from Kaysie Paxton to get them going and three from Mesa later on to get out to a 7-2 lead to begin the deciding set. Laramie clawed back, but it was still 8-5 Seward as the crossover. A crucial service error followed by a ball handling error whittled the Lady Saints lead down to just one, but a big solo block from Belissa Guidotti got Seward back on track and pushed them to a big finish as the Lady Saints closed the fifth on a 5-1 run to win 15-10 and take the match 3-2. Seward saved their best for last, hitting an even .500 with nine kills and just one error on 16 swings in the fifth, by far their most efficient hitting set of the match.

Mesa led the Lady Saints with 16 kills in the win while Guidotti and Mariana Nascimento combined for 14 with just three errors in the middle. Pereira chalked up a double double with 33 assists and 10 digs for Seward while Jazlyn Smith led the Lady Saints backrow with 17 digs. It was Seward’s second best blocking effort of the season with 15 total rejections, getting eight from the reigning Jayhawk West Defensive Player of the Week Guidotti and a career best seven from Paxton.


In a convenient move of gamesmanship by the tournament host, the Lady Saints were forced to play the home team and #1 ranked Western Nebraska just moments after they had gotten done with their five set thriller with Laramie. The Lady Saints and Cougars played even through the first 10 points of the first before a 5-0 run for Western put the Cougars in front 10-5. Seward didn’t roll over, battling back to get to within one later on, but a blocking error followed by an attack error gave Western a three point lead and the Cougars never relinquished it, going on to take the first 25-18 for a 1-0 lead in the match.

Seward again went toe to toe with the nation’s top ranked squad in the second, playing Western Nebraska even through the first 24 points of the set before using a Cougar service error to take a one point lead at the midpoint of the period. It continued to be a back and forth affair, but in the end, the Cougars firepower was just too much for the gals in green as Western pulled out the second 25-22 to go ahead 2-0 in the match.

With their backs to the wall, the Lady Saints came out swinging in the third, jumping out to a 7-2 lead on the Cougars after three straight aces from libero Daimond Aguinaldo. They held the lead to the midway junction of the set, but a 5-0 Western Nebraska run shifted the lead onto the home side of the scoreboard at 16-12. Seward made one last push, cutting the Western Nebraska lead to one at 20-19 late, but in the end, the Cougars were able to hold off the Lady Saints 25-20 to sweep the match 3-0.

Paxton was the only Lady Saint to reach double figures in kills in the defeat as she picked up 10 but had six errors on 27 swings. Agiunaldo and setter Giovanna Kuntze each had nine digs to lead the team while Nascimento was in on five of Seward’s seven blocks in the match.


Roy Allen


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