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Seward’s Viana Starts 2017 in Historic Fashion

Brock Kappelmann - August 26, 2017 6:53 am

ROSWELL, N.M. – The 2017 season started out with a bang for the Lady Saints, as they went 2-0 during the first day of the NMMI Kick-Off Classic. The Lady Saints came away with a tough victory in game one, defeating Odessa 3-2, thanks in large part to an historic outing by redshirt sophomore outside hitter, Viviane Viana. Seward went on to defeat Pima 3-0 to end day one.

“I saw some great things after our first two games,” head coach Thais Baziquetto-Allen said. “Offensively, a lot of hitters stepped up. While we serve receive with few mistakes, we need to find a medium between serving aggressive and serving in. Overall a great day for the Lady Saints.”

Game 1 Recap: Seward County vs. Odessa

After not losing a single set during the preseason, the Lady Saints were faced with adversity throughout the first matchup against the Lady Wranglers. The Lady Saints started out slow, going down 10-7 to open the set. They were able to fight their way back into the set, tying it up at 20 points. The match would continue for the next 22 points, with neither team being able to take the victory until Odessa came away with a 32-30 win to take a 1-0 lead after the first set.

For the first time this year, the Lady Saints were trailing. Seward responded by coming out hot the following set, gaining an early 8-4 advantage and never looking back. A few Brianna Domino kills and Luz Sierra blocks allowed the Lady Saints to extend their lead to 20-14. The Lady Saints took the second set easily, by a score of 25-17.

The third set would prove to be not as easy for the Lady Saints. Once again, they were faced with adversity, starting out slow and allowing Odessa to gain an early 9-2 advantage. On the back of Viana and Giovanna Kuntze, the Lady Saints were able to claw their way back into the set by winning 8 of the next 12 points to cut the lead to three. Similar to the first set, 25 points was not enough to crown a winner. This time, however, Seward came out on top 26-24.

With the Lady Saints needing one more set to win the match, Odessa refused to cave it. Neither team could gain a significant advantage as they traded points for the first 28 points. After being tied 14-14, Odessa would win 9 of the next 15 points to win set four, 25-20, and force a set five tiebreaker.

In the final set, the Lady Saints once again went down early, with Odessa gaining a 5-3 lead. Seward stormed back to take 5 of the next 6 points, including two straight Viana kills that would give the Lady Saints an 8-6 lead as the two teams switch sides. The switch would prove to be fruitless for the Lady Wranglers however, as the Lady Saints were able to expand their lead to three and win the set and match 15-10, 3-2.

Seward County was led by an impressive showing from Viana, who had a monster 26 kill, 27 dig performance. The 25/25 performance was the first in Lady Saints history and the 26 kills were the most since 2008 All-American Jelena Simic’s 27 kills.

Viana was helped by sophomore setter, Giovanna Kuntze, who had 52 assists for the game. The 52 assists were the most for Seward County since Nachole Miller’s 52 against Western Texas in 2013. Three other Lady Saints had double digit kills, Mariana Nascimento (14), Giovanna Tapigliani (10 and Sierra (12), while Domino was only one shy with 9 kills.

As a team, the Lady Saints ended the match with 104 digs. Five Lady Saints ended the match in double digit digs, Domino (17), Kuntze (14), Nathiellen Machado (16), Tapigliani (11) and Viana (27).

Game 2 Recap: Seward County vs. Pima

The second match of the day went much like the preseason did, as the Lady Saints defeated Pima 3-0. The Lady Saints started the first set with some leftover momentum from game one, going up 10-3. Viana once again proved to be the sparkplug for the Lady Saints as she connected on three straight kills early on in the match. The Lady Saints continued to extend their lead the rest of the set, as the went on to win 25-11. Nascimento connected on four of her kills in the first set.

The second set started out much tighter as the teams traded points back and forth for the first eleven points before Seward was able to take control of the match with a Briana Bradford block, which gave them an 8-6 lead. The Lady Saints would win 11 of the next 17 points, with the help of two service aces by Domino and one by Kuntze. The Aztecs would try to rally back, but the lead was too much to overcome. The Lady Saints ended the set with a kill by Tapigliani, to win 25-17.

Seward started the third set with sloppy play, giving Pima five of their first nine points off of errors. The two teams traded points for half the match, before an Esmadar Tavares kill would jumpstart the Lady Saints. After the kill gave them a 16-15 lead, the Lady Saints went on to win 9 of the next 11 points to take the set and match 25-17, 3-0.

As a team, the Lady Saints had a .403 hitting percentage, connecting on 33 of their attacks. Nascimento led the Lady Saints with 8 kills, while Domino and Tapigliani added 7 of their own. Viana increased her total kills on the day by 5, to give her an astounding 31 kills in two matches. Sophomore setter, Kuntze, put the Lady Saints in position to score all day, as she added 15 more assists in the second match, giving her a total of 67 on the day.

Defensively, Seward was led by Machado, who ended the match with 11 digs. In her two games played on the day, she is averaged 3.38 digs per set. Along with her offensive prowess, Domino proved to be active on the defensive side as well, collecting 7 digs against Pima.

The Lady Saints will finish the NMMI Kick-Off Classic on Saturday (Aug. 26) with matches against Eastern Arizona at 9 a.m. and South Mountain at 1 p.m.

For more information on the Seward County volleyball team, visit


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