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Seward Wins Jayhawk Conference

Brock Kappelmann - October 30, 2016 7:47 am

One month ago, the Seward County Lady Saints were thoroughly embarrassed in a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Colby Lady Trojans on the road at the Community Building. Sitting at 7-2 in conference play after the loss, Seward knew it would almost have to win their final seven games of their conference season to have a chance to claim their piece of Jayhawk West Conference royalty. After successfully getting through the first six tests, all that stood between the gals in green and a conference title Saturday night in the Greenhouse was the visiting Lady Trojans. Seward pushed late to take the first set 25-21 and snuck out a 25-23 win in the second to go up 2-0. In the third there was nothing that was going to stop the Lady Saints from their first Conference Championship since 2009 as they hammered Colby 25-16 to finish off the sweep and clinch a Jayhawk West Conference title alongside Hutchinson.

As expected in a matchup of two of the top teams in the Jayhawk Conference, Seward and Colby played to a 10-10 tie early on in the first to get things going. An ace by Daimond Aguinaldo and a kill from Belissa Guidotti gave Seward their first multi-point lead of the set at 15-13 and stretched their lead to four later on after back to back Trojan hitting errors. The Lady Saints took their largest lead of the set at 22-17 when Mariana Nascimento hammered one crosscourt and Seward did just enough to hang on late to win 25-21 to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

Colby grabbed the early advantage in the second, but the Lady Saints quickly came back and once again the score was tied at 10-10 at the 20 point mark. Seward continued to push, taking a three point lead at the midway point and held that cushion until later on in the set at 17-14 when Maritza Mesa found a soft spot in the Trojan defense. Colby made a late push, closing to within one twice late in the set, but a kill from Nascimento and a putaway from Kaysie Paxton on Seward’s first set point opportunity gave the Lady Saints a 25-23 win as they went to intermission with a 2-0 advantage over the Lady Trojans.

For the third straight set, things were nip and tuck between the two to begin the third. The score was tied at 9 when a key 5-0 run by the Lady Saints shut down any hope of the Trojans coming into the Greenhouse and winning on this night. Seward took a 14-9 lead and continued pushing, extending their lead to seven twice, including at 19-12 after another kill from Mesa. It was a 22-16 game when the Lady Saints smelled the blood in the water, scoring the final three points of the period to finish off a 25-16 third set win to sweep the Trojans 3-0 and secure the Jayhawk West Conference Championship on their home floor.

The Lady Saints hit just .170 in the win, but used a huge block that racked up 10 total blocks on the night to come out of the Greenhouse with a win. Mesa led Seward with a 10 kill, 15 dig double-double in the victory while sophomore setter Amanda Pereira filled up the stat sheet with 28 assists, 11 digs, and four blocks, including three solos for the gals in green.

Seward captures its first conference title since 2009, finishing as co-champs with Hutchinson who was also 14-2 in league action this season. The Lady Saints win their seventh straight match to improve to 23-9 overall on the season and end the regular season with the most conference wins in a year (14) since the 1998 campaign.

The Lady Saints will now turn their attention to the Region VI Tournament where they will be the #2 seed opposite the Blue Dragons of Hutchinson in the bracket. Seward will open the tournament at home on Wednesday in an early 6:00 start against Dodge City in the Greenhouse. Fans wanting to attend the game on Wednesday will need to pick up free tickets at Windtree Management on West Pancake, or at Billy’s or First National Bank in Liberal thanks to Windtree’s generous sponsorship of the night.

Roy Allen



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