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Seward Wins Oz Fest Classic

KSCB News - September 29, 2014 6:45 am

The Seward County Lady Saints captured their second straight Ozfest Invitational Tournament Championship Saturday night in the Greenhouse, getting a historic performance from Carolina Gasparini and a solid effort from tournament MVP Megan Sharratt in the middle on her 18th birthday to improve to 15-11 overall on the season. The Lady Saints opened the day with a 3-0 win over Western Texas and closed the day with a 3-1 victory over Frank Phillips in the title match to keep the championship trophy in Liberal.

In their first match of the day against Western Texas, it was a tight one early on for the Lady Saints as Seward and the Lady Westerners remained tight throughout the first half of the first set, with neither team holding more than a two point lead until an ace from Taryn Bedore gave the Lady Saints a 16-13 lead. A pair of kills from Megan Sharratt in the middle kept Seward up by three, but back to back attack errors allowed Western to draw back to within one at 20-19. After Western tied the set with a kill, the Lady Saints got kills from three different players on three straight plays, taking a 23-20 lead before an ace by Kari Anderson gave them set point and a Lady Westerner attack error gave Seward the first set 25-20.

The second set nearly mirrored the first early on as once again, it was a nip and tuck battle early on that saw the two teams separated by two or less points and it was just 10-9 Seward after 19 points of play. From that point on however, it was all Seward County. Three Western attack errors got the Lady Saints going and they just kept on going, getting a kill from Sharratt and another from Kristen Anderson to give them an 18-11 lead. They didn’t stop there as a block from Carolina Gasparini and Sharratt made it a 19-11 score and a pair of aces from Thayna Silva finished Western off in a lopsided 25-11 win for Seward. After seeing the score 10-9, the Lady Saints closed the set on a 15-2 run to blow Western away and win by 14. Seward finished the set with 11 kills without an error, hitting .379 as a group.

A big start by Sharratt in the third pushed the Lady Saints out to a 10-5 advantage after a pair of kills and an ace from the freshman middle. The Lady Saints remained up five, 13-8 at the midway point of the set and kept their distance from the Lady Westerners to 19-14 after another Sharratt kill. A reception error and an attack error by the Lady Saints allowed Western Texas to get within striking distance late, but a kill from Alex Wood got Seward the ball back and two kills from Carolina Freitas finished the Westerners off as the Lady Saints took the set 25-20 to sweep the match 3-0.

Sharratt led the Seward attack with 10 kills and 0 errors in 16 chances, good for a .625 hitting percentage in the match. Freitas also had a solid match in the middle with 8 kills while Nacole Miller paced Seward with 20 assists and Kari Anderson had a team high 16 digs.


With a Butler loss to Western Texas in match number nine in the tournament, that meant that the Lady Saints would play for the championship against Frank Phillips, ironically in the final match of the weekend. Seward was all over Frank early, getting a pair of kills from Alex Wood and four early aces from Carolina Gasparini to take a quick 7-1 lead. Seward continued to lead big and extended their lead to 16-5 before Megan Sharratt’s fourth kill of the first set finished the Lady Plainsmen off 25-18. Seward finished with 15 kills in the set and hit at a clip of .314 as a team in the first set victory.

The Lady Saints got off to another quick start in the second, jumping in front 6-2 against the Lady Plainsmen on a pair of early kills from Carolina Freitas and more dominate serving from Gasparini. A Seward attack error later on allowed Frank Phillips to get back to within two, but a kill from Gasparini and four more points after that had the Lady Saints back on top comfortably 13-7. As the set hit the home stretch it was just too much Sharratt in the middle and Gasprini at the service line for Frank Phillips as the Lady Saints continued to push and blew the Lady Plainsmen away 25-15 to go ahead 2-0. It was another 15 kill set for the Lady Saints in the second, but 7 errors hurt their overall hitting percentage in the period that ended up at .229.

With a shuffled up lineup in the third, the Lady Saints had trouble continuing their momentum into the third. Seward fell behind 8-6 to start the set before coming back to tie the score at 9 and the count remained even to 13-13 on a kill from Angelina Minor. The Lady Saints pressed forward, scoring the next four points to go up 17-13, but Frank Phillips wasn’t ready to go home just yet, evening up the score at 20. The Lady Saints and Lady Plainsmen went back and forth to 24-24 when a key Seward service error gave Frank Phillips set point where the Lady Saints handed them the set with an attack error to allow the match to continue with a 26-24 Frank Phillips win.

Early errors hampered the Lady Saints operations to begin the fourth, but they put together enough offense to stay in the game and after 20 points the score was deadlocked at 10-10. A thunderous kill from Angelina Minor broke the tie and the Lady Saints went up by two on a kill from Gasparini. The Lady Saints lead was short-lived however as a Frank Phillips kill and back to back Seward errors allowed the Lady Plainsmen to come back and take a 16-15 lead. A kill and an ace from Gasparini got Seward back on track and a kill from Freitas put the Lady Saints ahead by two 18-16. The Lady Saints wouldn’t relinquish the lead again as they pushed their advantage to 23-17 on Gasparini’s 11th ace of the night and finished Frank Phillips off on a Lady Plainsmen attack error to give Seward a 25-18 win in the fourth. The Lady Saints took the match 3-1, giving them a 3-1 record on the weekend which was good for their second straight Ozfest Invitational Championship in their home gym.

The story of the match was Gasparini who filled up the stat sheet unlike anyone in the past 10 seasons of Seward volleyball. The sophomore outside hitter ended the match with a 12 kill, 11 ace, 13 dig triple-double, the first triple-double by a Seward player since Kelli Kirkwood accomplished the feat during the same weekend in 2005 against Jefferson. Her 11 aces are most since the turn of the century and most since the program has documented match by match stats. Gasparini was awarded an All-Tournament Team selection while her teammate Sharratt was named the Tournament MVP on her 18th birthday. Sharratt wrapped up a solid weekend with 13 kills and a .440 hitting percentage in the match against the Lady Plainsmen to lead the way for Seward. Wood tied her career high with 11 kills in the win while Freitas’ 10 kills were most since she had her career high of 18 against Frank Phillips in late August. Thayna Silva and Kristen Anderson were also named to the All-Tournament Team for Seward. The Lady Saints 55 kills in the match tied a season high in a four set match this season.


The 3-1 weekend puts Seward at 15-11 overall on the season. The Lady Saints win their second straight Ozfest Championship and their first outright tournament title this season. Seward will need to find a way to keep their momentum rolling for the next few days as they host the upstart Pratt Beavers in the Greenhouse on Wednesday night in Jayhawk West Conference action.


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