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Seward Steals Show at Wyo-Braska Shootout

KSCB News - September 21, 2015 2:31 pm

For the first time in eight seasons, the Seward County Lady Saints long bus ride home from the Wyo-Braska Shootout in Torrington, Wyoming and Scottsbluff, Nebraska, was a pleasant one as they picked up three wins in four matches, including the program’s first ever win over Western Wyoming, to come home with a winning record from the tournament for the first time since the 2008 season.

In their first match of the weekend, Seward took on Laramie County in Scottsbluff. Seward raced out to an 11-2 lead in the first set before putting it on cruise control to coast to a 25-18 win over the Eagles. The Lady Saints got out to another quick start in the second to grab a 9-7 early lead, but a rash of errors later in the set turned the tides and it was Laramie taking an 18-16 lead on Seward. A big block by Megan Sharratt and Viviane Viana got Seward going again and four straight points gave them three shots at set point, up 24-21. They couldn’t close the door though as three straight errors allowed Laramie to tie it and the Golden Eagles went on to take the set 27-25 to even things at one. Seward found themselves in a big early hole in the third, down 7-3, but battled back to tie the score at 9 after two straight Laramie miscues. The teams played even through the middle portion of the set and were tied at 20 in crunch time. They continued to go back and forth to 23-23 when an attack error and a reception error for the Lady Saints did them in in a 25-23 win for Laramie. The fourth set mirrored the third as Seward struggled early on before coming back to even things up and even take a lead of their own at 15-13 on a kill by Alex Wood. The Lady Saints continued to keep in front of the Eagles to 23-21 and again placed themselves in good position to clinch the set, up 24-22 after a ball handling error by Laramie. For the second time in the match though, Seward could not close as the Eagles scored two straight to tie the score at 24 and then two more on Seward hitting miscues to close the set and the match with a 26-24 win. The loss was a disappointing one for Seward after by far their best blocking effort of the year in the match. The Lady Saints combined for 19 blocks in the match, led by a career high 10 from Belissa Guidotti and eight each from Maritza Mesa and Sharratt. Sharratt and Wood each had 10 kills for the Lady Saints in the defeat.

In their second match of the weekend, the Lady Saints took on perennial NJCAA power Western Wyoming. The Lady Saints jumped out to an early lead on the Mustangs thanks to a pair of aces from Sharratt and a pair of kills from Kaysie Paxton to grab a 10-5 advantage. As expected though, Western fought back, tying the score at 15 and then taking their first lead of the set at 17-16. Seward continued to battle, reclaiming the lead on a kill by Mesa and then a solo stuff from the freshman to make it 22-20. Western tied the score once again and had a chance to take the set from Seward up 25-24, but the Lady Saints got a kill from Sharratt and then took advantage of two straight Mustang hitting errors to come away with the win 27-25. The second set was tight throughout, tied at 7 and remaining tied at 15 later on. It wasn’t until late in the period that either team took more than a one point lead as Seward jumped in front 21-19 on a Mustang ball handling error. Two more Western hitting mistakes gave the Lady Saints three cracks at set point and they cashed in on their second try with a block from Guidotti and Paxton to take a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-22 win. Western Wyoming came out angry in the third and took an early 14-10 lead on the Lady Saints. They continued to lead late into the set with Seward only able to close to within striking distance on one occasion before the Mustangs remained alive with a 25-21 win. The fourth was more of the same as the Mustangs led 9-5 early on and 15-10 midway through the action. Seward climbed back to within two on a pair of occasions later in the set, but like the third, an experienced Western team closed them out 25-21 to send the match to a deciding fifth set. With everything on the line in the fifth, the Lady Saints got a pair of big aces from Sharratt to jump out to a 6-3 lead on Western. They continued to lead by three at the changeover 8-5 and held that cushion to 13-10 looking to close. Western had other ideas though and after three straight Mustang points, the set was tied at 13. With the score deadlocked at 14, a big Seward service error gave Western a chance to close, but the Lady Saints fought off match point to make it 15-15. They did the same with the score 16-15 in favor of Western to knot it at 16 and a kill by Mesa and huge Mustang ball handling error sealed the win for Seward as they took the set 18-16 to win the match 3-2. Mesa led the Lady Saints with a career high 13 kills while Sharratt had 12 kills and led another solid Seward blocking attack with seven. Jade Piper dished out a team best 26 assists while Amanda Pereira had 19. Kimberly Diaz led the Lady Saints with 25 digs in the win while Viana collected 24.

Saturday the Lady Saints jumped the border to Torrington, Wyoming for a pair of matches. In their first match of the day they took on the hosts, Eastern Wyoming. Seward got off to a good start, grabbing an early 8-4 lead, but Eastern roared back, taking a 14-11 lead of their own mid set. Following a timeout, Seward responded with a 9-0 run, led by Sharratt and Viana to take a 20-14 lead before going on to win the first 25-19. The second was close early with the two teams tied at eight, 16 points in. Back to back kills from Mesa gave Seward a two point lead and they kept that cushion to 16-14. That’s when the Lady Saints turned on the jets, going on a 9-1 run to close out the period, capped off by two kills each from Mesa and Viana to give Seward a 25-15 win to go in front 2-0. The Lady Saints couldn’t carry their momentum into the third however as Eastern was all over Seward early 7-2. Slowly Seward crept back in, eventually evening the score up at 13 on an ace from Diaz midway through. It remained a tie to 17-17, when like the first two sets, Seward took off. A rash of errors by the Lancers propelled the Lady Saints to six straight points without having to earn a single one themselves to give Seward a 23-17 lead which was enough to push them over the edge before they finished Eastern off 25-19 to sweep the match. Seward used 10 team blocks to help in the three set victory, getting seven from Guidotti to lead the way. Mesa had an efficient match on offense for Seward, finishing with nine kills and just one error to end the contest with a smooth .533 hitting percentage. Viana led Seward with 12 digs in the win while Piper dished out a team high 20 assists.

In their final match of the weekend the Lady Saints took on a Central Wyoming squad that had had their number at the Shootout in recent years. Mesa again led the Lady Saints charge to begin the match, getting back to back kills early on to put them up 12-8 in the first. A block by Guidotti and Paxton gave them a five point lead at 17-12 and kills by Viana and Sharratt finished Central off 25-18 for the first set win. Seward again jumped out to a 12-8 lead in the second, but this time faltered through the middle of the set, allowing Central to erase their lead and take a 21-19 lead of their own. Seward regrouped though, scoring three of the next four points to tie the score at 22. It was 24-24 when a crucial service error by the Lady Saints gave the Cowboys set point, but Seward fought that off with a kill from Sharratt to tie the score at 25. The teams traded points to 26-26 when a kill from Sharratt and a Central ball handling fumble wrapped things up in a 28-26 victory for the Lady Saints. Seward found themselves in their first significant hole of the match in the third as they trailed 10-7 to get things going. They recovered to tie the score at 12 and never looked back from there. A kill from Sharratt and two more from Wood gave the Lady Saints a 21-17 lead and a kill from Guidotti finished the Cowboys off 25-21 to give the Lady Saints their second straight sweep. Sharratt and Mesa led the Lady Saints attack, combining for 22 kills in the win. Piper again led Seward with 20 assists while Pereira distributed 13. Viana had 13 digs to lead the way for the Lady Saints while Pereira notched a double double with a career high 12.

The 3-1 weekend marks the first time since 2008 that Seward recorded a winning weekend at the Wyo-Braska Shootout and their Friday win over previously ranked #13 Western Wyoming marked the programs first ever win over the Mustangs. The Lady Saints are now 10-7 overall on the year and will jump back into Jayhawk West play on Wednesday when they host Cloud County at 6:30 in the Greenhouse in a clash for 2nd place in the league standings.

Roy Allen


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