With the Jayhawk West Conference Title within their reach, the Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball Team picked up a big road win Wednesday night in Great Bend against a quality opponent in the Barton County Cougars. In game one the two teams went back and forth early and were tied at 12 midway through. Two straight Barton hitting errors gave Seward the lead at 14-12 and boosted them to a run which would put game one away. Up 22-15, Diana Castrillon notched her third kill of the first set to give Seward a 23-15 advantage and moments later Kelen Ricardo hit a shot off the block to close out the game 25-16.
In game two the Lady Saints came out of the blocks strong and scored six straight points early to take an 8-3 lead. LaKendra Sanders then put Seward up 11-5 and later on Sheina Fernandes finished off a kill to give the gals in green an 18-13 lead. After going up 20-14 and looking as if they had control of the set, Seward gave up seven straight Cougar points and found themselves down 21-20. Getting a slap in the face from the home team, the Lady Saints bounced back to score three consecutive points of their own and go up 23-21 and a solo block from Fernandes would seal the game 25-23 to put Seward up 2-0 in the match.
Game three would be close early but after LaKendra Sanders would put the Lady Saints up 7-6, they would never look back. Seward stretched leads to 15-10 and 19-11 on blocks from Sheina Fernandes and Taryn Westerman and then went up seven late at 23-16 with a kill from Lindsey Miller. On match point with the score 24-17, a Barton ball out of bounds would give the Lady Saints a 25-17 win in game three and a 3-0 sweep of the match.
With one match left, Seward now has at least a share of the conference title and can close out an outright conference championship Monday at home with a win against Dodge City. The win gives the Lady Saints 10 conference wins for the second straight season, the first time that that has happened in over a decade. Seward is now 25-9 overall on the season and 10-1 in Jayhawk West Conference play. Monday night will be sophomore night with all six Seward County sophomores playing their last game of their careers in the friendly confines of the Greenhouse. Prior to the match, each of the six will be honored along with their parents for their outstanding work during their time here at Seward County.
After putting up the Lady Saints first triple-double of the season, Seward County freshman volleyball player Sheina Fernandes has been named KJCCC Player of the Week for the third time this season. The Brazilian middle hitter had 11 kills, 11 blocks, and 10 digs in the Lady Saints only match of the week against Pratt in a huge road win in Seward’s quest for the Jayhawk West Title. Fernandes and the Lady Saints travel to Barton County tonight in a match that will more less settle the conference championship. If Seward wins they have just 2-8 Dodge City left on the schedule and a one game lead, where if Seward loses tonight they will need help from Barton County Monday night against Hutchinson if they look to hang on to the conference title. Twitter updates will be available on the homepage at and live score updates will probably be available HERE throughout the night.
The age old saying, “a win is a win” could not have been more true Wednesday Night in the Beaver Dome in Pratt for the Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball Team, as the green and black came out on top of a crucial Jayhawk West Conference match 3-1 to remain the top team in the conference while playing less than their best ball of the year.
The stage was set for Seward a week ago Wednesday after a loss to 13th ranked Hutchinson. Win your final three conference matches and win the conference. Drop one of the three and you watch your rival, the Lady Blue Dragons take home the crown. Their road started in Pratt Wednesday where they would take on a Lady Beavers team who was the first to drop the Lady Saints this season. Seward got revenge in their home conference date with the Beavs but needed this match more than ever and were going to have to win in one of the toughest buildings in the conference to win in, the Beaver Dome.
The match started just how Head Coach Bert Luallen drew it up, four straight points to open up the first set to take a 4-0 lead. After Pratt scored a pair of their own, Diana Castrillon and Sheina Fernandes pushed the lead back to four with a kill and an ace to put Seward up 6-2. The Lady Saints continued to dominate the early and middle part of the first set and found themselves up 7 at 20-13 after a well placed tip from setter Maddy Taylor. That is when the good play from the gals in green seemed to have hit a wall. After a service error and a pair of bad passes the Lady Saints found themselves in a tailspin that they couldn’t seem to get out of. After the Beavers tied the set at 22, Fernandes stepped up as she did all night to smash a Pratt overpass inside the 10 foot line to put Seward up one at 23-22. After trading points for the next 4 plays, Seward found themselves up 25-24 serving for the game and after a combo block from Fernandes and Taryn Westerman, exhaled with a 26-24 game one win.
In game two Seward dominated even more until the midway point finding themselves in the middle of a laugher up 18-8. At that point they put it in cruise control and unfortunately the Beavers turned on the after burners. After five straight points, Lady Saints fans shrugged their shoulders but they were still up 5 at 18-13. After eight straight points, everyone in green figured it had to turn around soon since Pratt couldn’t possibly score 10 straight to tie the game at 18. Well, they were wrong, in fact more than wrong. After 12 straight Beaver points, Pratt held a 20-18 lead and Seward looked in jeopardy of losing game number two. However, the Lady Saints flipped the switch on to score three straight of their own and retake a 23-22 lead and after going back and forth for the next six points, Sheina Fernandes did as she did in game one and came up with a big solo block to give Seward the 27-25 win and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The good thing, the cardiac kids didn’t do the same thing in game three. The bad thing, they wouldn’t hold a lead at anytime during the set. Down early 7-6, LaKendra Sanders raised up to hammer one to the hardwood and tie the game at 7, but Pratt followed the Sanders kill with 4 straight points to take an 11-7 lead. Lindsey Miller cut the Pratt lead to two later on at 12-10 but the Beavers remained a step ahead of the Lady Saints all the way through and eventually won a sloppy third game 25-20 to force a game four.
The Lady Saints played hard early in game four and after a rally in which Seward players were hitting the floor on every square inch of their side of the court and eventually winning the point, they took a 4-2 lead. Stacie Carver and Sheina Fernandes tallied points for the Lady Saints to go up 12-8 and then 16-11 but after a handful of Pratt point wins, Seward found themselves tied with the Beavers at 16 apiece. Pratt won the battle at the net during the next portion of the game going up 21-18 and looking like they were going to force a deciding 5th set against the nations #14 team. However, Seward won 5 of the next 6 points to go up 23-22 and as she had done in the other two set wins for the Lady Saints, Sheina Fernandes combined with Kelen Ricardo to reject a Pratt attack to the floor and give Seward the 25-23 win.
In the victory the Lady Saints were led by Sheina Fernandes who posted the first Seward triple-double of the year with 11 kills, 11 blocks, and 10 digs in the match. Diana Castrillon and Lindsey Miller notched double-doubles with 12 kills and 13 digs, and 10 kills and 17 digs respectively and Taryn Westerman stepped up to have one of her finer games at the net with 9 kills. Maddy Taylor had a solid effort with 26 assists and 8 digs while Amanda Savage held her own in the back row with 15 digs and 32 serve-receive passes with just one error.
The victory gives Seward its 24th win of the season and moves them to 9-1 in Jayhawk West Conference play with two matches left. They will now enjoy their first weekend off of the season and then get back to work next week to prepare for a road match with Barton County in Great Bend Wednesday night.
The Seward County Community College Saints and Lady Saints basketball teams will be hosting the 5th Annual Saints Bookstore Basketball Benefit Night on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 6:30 p.m. at the Green House on the campus of SCCC/ATS. Admission to the event is free, with all proceeds going to support the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Haskell, Stevens, and Seward Counties. Donations will be accepted at the door and at the concession stand.

The night will officially begin at 5:45 p.m. with both basketball teams signing autographs in SW229 C&D (upstairs conference rooms) for the public to attend. FREE posters of the Men’s and Women’s basketball teams will be handed out and the public can have the Saints and Lady Saints autograph their posters. The public will also get a chance to meet the Cheerleading team and Dance team before the start of the benefit night in the gym.

The Basketball Benefit Night will showcase the Seward County Saints and Lady Saints basketball teams as they will be introduced and both teams will scrimmage for 12 minutes at the end of the night. The Cheerleaders and Saintsations Dance Team will also be introduced and perform their first routine of the school year.

There will be a free-throw contest with Saints coaches Bryan Zollinger and Ryan Stock vs. Lady Saints’ coaches Toby Wynn and Penny Jones. The Saints and Lady Saints will square off in a team three-point contest and dribble relay contest as well as a friendly (or not so friendly) game of PIG. Also come with your camera’s ready as there will be a slam dunk contest between four high-flying Saints players. FREE Saints Basketball T-Shirts will be thrown out throughout the night thanks to the Saints Bookstore. Starting at around 5:00 anyone who purchased a brisket from the Booster Club brisket sale can also pick up their brisket from the dock right outside the gym.

The Saints and Lady Saints will officially open their seasons Nov. 6, hosting the Pepsi Classic at the Green House.
When their schedule was released in August, the Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball team knew that this stretch of their schedule was going to be tough… but maybe not this tough. After facing #4 Western Nebraska Saturday, Seward would find #17 Hutchinson, #7 Miami-Dade, #8 Missouri St.-West Plains, and #6 Iowa Western all on their slate in the next 7 days.
Just when you start to feel bad for the Lady Saints, let’s not forget that they are the 9th ranked team in the country and they showed #7 Miami-Dade just why early in their first match of the weekend in West Plains, Missouri. Seward took game one from the Lady Sharks 25-22 but dropped the second game 25-23 in a nail biter to the end to tie the match at 1. Seward slipped in game three to lose 25-21 and after another valiant effort in game four, fell 25-23 again to lose the match 3-1. Playing against her former team, Diana Castrillon led the Lady Saints in kills (13), digs (17), and aces (2). Fellow outside hitter Lindsey Miller also played well for Seward County in the defeat posting a double-double with 10 kills and 15 digs to go along with 22 perfect serve-receive passes. LaKendra Sanders hit .455 on the match with 11 kills and just 1 error while also picking up a pair of blocks. Sheina Fernandes had a team high 5 blocks along with 9 kills and Taryn Westerman and Amanda Savage notched 17 digs a piece.
Next the Lady Saints took on the home team, the Missouri St.-West Plains Grizzlies in a match that everyone in green and white would like to forget. Seward dropped the match in straight sets 25-14, 25-11, 25-13 while hitting just .013 in the contest. The Lady Saints were led, yes led, by Diana Castrillon’s four kills on the match while the Seward setters connected on just 10 combined assists in 69 chances. Lindsey Miller and Kelen Ricardo reached double digit digs for the gals in green, pulling up 13 and 10 respectively while Sheina Fernandes posted her second straight 5 block effort. Katie Thomas was second on the team with 3 kills and Stacie Carver finished second on the team with 4 blocks.
Facing their longest losing streak of the season, Seward didn’t have much time to lick their wounds as their next test would be against 32-3, 6th ranked Iowa Western Saturday morning at 10:00. After feeling like they had a chance to take a match from the Reivers earlier in the season Seward had the confidence that they could turn the corner in this one and get back on the right track. Iowa Western would have other plans however, as they took the first set 25-18 from the Lady Saints and took advantage of poor Seward play in game two to win 25-15. Facing the sweep the Lady Saints managed to dust themselves off and show up in game three winning 25-18 but failed to force a 5th set by losing 25-16 in game four. Brazilian’s Sheina Fernandes and Kelen Ricardo shared the team lead with 10 kills apiece while LaKendra Sanders patrolled the net defensively with 6 blocks in the match. Maddy Taylor had a team high 19 assists while Taryn Westerman chalked up 17 on the evening. Not many teams can say the same thing the Lady Saints could for this match and that was that their starting middle hitter, Sheina Fernandes, also led the team in digs with a career high 16. Amanda Savage and Lindsey Miller collected 15 digs each and Maddy Taylor notched 14.
Wounded and 12 hours from home, the Lady Saints looked to salvage the weekend by getting a win over an 18-10 Lake Land team in the tournament finale. Seward dominated the first set behind four kills from Taryn Westerman to win 25-15 but hit a bump in the road in game two falling 25-21. All tied at 1, the Lady Saints again pounded the Lakers 25-11 in game three but fell just short in game four 27-25 to force a deciding 5th set. Behind a solid attack and quality defense, Seward took game five 15-12 to wrap up their 23rd win on the year. Kelen Ricardo completed her first back to back double digit kill matches of her career with 11 against the Lakers while Lindsey Miller recorded 10 kills to couple her 11 digs on the night. Running a 5-1 for the first time this season, Maddy Taylor distributed out a career high 37 assists to go along with a career high 3 blocks at the net. Sheina Fernandes had 2 solo and 2 assisted blocks in the affair and Stacie Carver showed her versatility with a career high 13 digs in the match.
After all was said and done on the weekend the Lady Saints came out 23-9 on the season and still 8-1, good for first, in the Jayhawk West. Their travels will take them to Pratt Wednesday for a crucial conference matchup against the Beavers, a game in which will have a big impact on who wins the Jayhawk West Conference this season. The Lady Saints are opening up their team bus to the first 30 faculty, staff, or students to sign up to ride along with them to the game to cheer them on in such a big conference match.
After a season in which the Cougars whipped them 9-0, the Seward County Men’s Tennis Team returned the favor to the Barton County winning 11-6 last Tuesday to finish their 2009 fall schedule in style. The Saints went 8-3 in singles action with key wins coming from Fernando Soni in the #2 singles slot and Eduardo Munoz, Stefan Igjetovic, and Levan Gabashvili in the #’s 4, 5, and 6 singles play. The Saints and Cougars split in doubles play with both sides taking 3 matches. For Seward, Christian Romanzini and Eduardo Munoz teamed up to win an exciting 9-8 decision while Levan Gabashvili and David Loaiza paired up to win 8-5. Hometown players Landon Harp and Aaron Schafffer came up big for Coach Darin Workman and the Saints going 3-0 on the day. Harp won his singles match easily 8-1 while Schaffer took care of James Winston to the tune of 8-3. The two then got together for doubles action and beat the duo that they saw in singles play earlier in the day 8-2. The weekend before their dual with Barton County, the Saints were in Seminole, Oklahoma taking on the region’s best in the ITA Central Regional Championships. Fernando Soni impressed on the day advancing to the third round with a 7-6, 6-0 win over Chris Copenhaver of Johnson County while in doubles play Christian Romanzini and Eduardo Munoz made it to the round of 8 with a 4-6, 6-1, 10-8 win over a duo from Cowley. After losing in the first round of doubles play in the championship bracket, Soni and doubles partner Carlos Souza worked their way back through the consolation bracket to take home first place in that with a 6-4, 6-4 win over the same pair that their teammates Romanzini and Munoz had dropped earlier in the day. With their last opponent pulling out at the last minute, the Barton County dual was the last action for the Saints for the fall as they prepare for their 2010 season.
Bringing back just two players from last year’s National Tournament team, this year might have been looked at as a rebuilding year for Seward County Women’s Tennis. After going up against some of the nation’s best at the ITA Regional Tournament in Seminole, Oklahoma and faring quite well, this year’s Lady Saints team proved that they expect to be right back in the desert of Arizona when the National Tournament starts next Spring.
After receiving a first round bye in her first match on Friday Fanny Benincasa defeated Jessica Montemayor of Cowley 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to advance to the round of 8 on Saturday where she knocked off Seminole State’s Natalia Khakimova 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 and Karla Martinez of New Mexico Military 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 to advance to the Regional Championship match Sunday morning. In the championship match Benincasa ran up against one of the best players in the country in Cowley’s Adrijana Pavlovic who she lost to 6-0, 6-0 but still finished 2nd in the group of 32. Along with Benincasa’s deep run in the tournament, Ekaterina Gabashvili decided she would take a shot at the consolation bracket championship after getting beat in the first round of the championship bracket. After dropping Brittany Laner of Cowley in the Quarterfinals 6-2, 6-1, Gabashvili found herself in the final four where she played an epic battle with Akanesi Fe of NMMI, losing a heartbreaker 7-6, 4-6, 9-11 to finish 3rd in the consolation bracket. In doubles play Benincasa and Gabashvili teamed up to put on another nice show finishing 3rd after beating Haley Craig and Kasey Spencer of Johnson County 5-7, 6-4, 10-8 in the tournament quarterfinals. In the tournament’s ‘B’ consolation bracket the Seward County duo’s of Antigone Lowery and Shaley Thomas took on Sylvia Perez and Paulo Verdasca in the final four, a match in which Lowery and Thomas took 6-1, 6-1 to reach the final match where they lost 7-5, 6-2.
In their last competition of the fall the Lady Saints took on the Lady Cougars of Barton County. In singles play the Lady Saints took 4 out of 6 matches including wins from Benincasa, Lowery, Thomas, and Perez (default). Thomas’ victory might have been most impressive as the athletic sophomore dropped the first set 6-2 before battling back to take the 2nd set 7-5 and the 3rd 11-9. The doubles combo of Benincasa and Gabashvili wrapped up a solid fall campaign with a 7-5, 3-6, 10-1 win to give the Lady Saints a 5-4 victory on the day against the reigning Region 6 runners-up. Head Coach Darin Workman was pleased with his team’s effort on the week saying “I could put a lot of different girls at a lot of different positions right now and they would still have a good chance of winning. It is a good problem to have when you have multiple players that can play in your #1 spot.”
It was a match that both teams have had circled on their calendars since they last met on September 12th. The reigning Jayhawk West Conference Champion Hutchinson Blue Dragons and the team looking to overtake them, the Seward County Lady Saints. The first time the two met Seward pulled out an epic five set victory to take hold on the top spot in the conference, this time the Dragons were looking to pick up a win to simply stay in the conference race.
With both teams donning pink and the seats in the lower level of the Greenhouse packed with eager fans, the #9 Seward County Lady Saints and #17 Hutchinson Lady Blue Dragons were ready for battle. Opening up the night’s festivities was a woman who has been through her share of battles, and not on the volleyball court. Jo Velasquez is a two time winner against cancer and has been cancer free since 2001. She was the honorary first server for the Lady Saints on this “dig pink” night against the Dragons as both teams tried to raise awareness for breast cancer. After a warm welcome from the crowd and a mighty whack of the pink and white ball by Jo, the teams were ready to start the action.
Game one lived up to its billing early as the two teams went back and forth for the first 12 points. Tied 6-6 Seward County went on a four point run to take a 10-6 lead and wouldn’t look back from there. The Lady Saints held Hutch at arm’s length throughout the first game holding leads of 14-10 and 18-14 thanks in part to a strong set from Sheina Fernandes and later stretched the lead to 8 after a kill from Diana Castrillon made it 23-15. With the home crowd fired up, Kelen Ricardo ripped her 3rd kill of game one down the line to give Seward the 25-17 victory to take a 1-0 lead. Game two was a tight contest but Seward held a slight advantage most of the way through. Tied 4-4 Fernandes sent back her 3rd block of the night to put Seward up one and a combo block from Castrillon and LaKendra Sanders later on gave the Lady Saints a three point cushion at 11-8. After tying the game at 13, Hutch committed a costly service error to put Seward back on top 14-13 and after drawing the game even at 18 later on Maddy Taylor connected on a set with Fernandes to again give Seward a one point lead at 19-18. The teams continued to trade side-outs until another Hutch service error gave Seward game point at 24-23. After fighting off that game point to tie it at 24, the Lady Saints had a chance to force another game point with a free ball lobbed onto their side but were unable to take advantage of it as they had to scramble to get it over the net on a third hit. Hutch did capitalize on their free ball and took the 25-24 lead and after a combo block at the net on the next play, had game two sealed 26-24 to tie the match at one.
With the match knotted at one Hutch sprung out to a 7-1 lead in game three behind a strong service sequence from setter Emme Russell. Seward slowly chipped away at the lead and after a pair of Lindsey Miller kills found themselves within two at 15-13. The Lady Dragons pushed the lead back up to four and held that advantage all the way up to 22-18 but a couple of hitting errors put Seward back into the game and after another put away from Kelen Ricardo the Lady Saints trailed by just one at 22-21. Facing game point at 24-23, Seward found a way to score to tie the game at 24 but as in game two, the Lady Dragons scored the game’s final two points to win 26-24. With Hutch up 2 games to 1 in the fourth set both teams pushed for game number four. Tit for tat the teams went through the first half of game four with everything tied up at 13 at the midway point. The Lady Saints were able to take a 14-13 lead but four straight Hutchinson points would put Seward in a 17-14 hole with the match on the line. Cutting the Hutch lead to 19-17 and serving looking to cut it to just one, Seward’s Achilles Heel bit them again and a serve into the net gave the Dragons a 20-17 lead and the momentum they needed to finish off the game and the match as they took game four 25-20. As bitter of rivals as the Lady Saints and Lady Dragons are, they were able to set their differences aside after the match long enough to sign the game ball, present it to, and then take a group picture with Jo Velasquez, the real winner of a true battle in the end.
Diana Castrillon played valiantly in the Seward defeat racking up a team high 13 kills and 16 digs in the loss while Lindsey Miller narrowly missed a double-double of her own with 8 kills and 10 digs. LaKendra Sanders and Sheina Fernandes certainly did all they could at the net for Seward each recording 1 solo and 6 assisted blocks while finishing off 8 and 10 kills respectively. Taryn Westerman found a way to fill up the stat sheet as well with 6 kills, 23 assists, 9 digs, and 3 blocks in the loss while Kelen Ricardo ended the night with 9 kills and 3 blocks. For Hutchinson, Brazilians Karol Marins and Carolina Logato carried the offense with 29 combined kills while sophomore Debbie Ohl backed the defense with 10 digs and 6 blocks. Seward dominated nearly every statistical category on the night including kills, hitting percentage, aces, digs, and blocks but were plagued by untimely errors including 18 hitting errors, 11 service errors, and 6 serve/receive errors leading to Hutch points.
The loss drops Seward to 22-6 overall and 8-1 in Jayhawk West play while Hutch moves to 18-7 and 6-2 in Jayhawk play. The good news for the Lady Saints is, they still control their own destiny meaning if they can find a way to pick up road wins at Pratt and Barton County in the next two weeks and take care of business at home against Dodge City on sophomore night, they will still be crowned the Jayhawk West Champions on November 2nd. If they happen to slip up in one of those three matches they will need Hutchinson to lose one of their final four matches, with the most likely scenarios happening Saturday against Pratt or November 2nd at Barton County, to have a shot at the title.
Seward’s road doesn’t get any easier nor do they have time to sulk over a loss to Hutch as they are already on the highway to West Plains, Missouri where they will take on #7 Miami-Dade College Friday morning at 10:00 before squaring off with #8 Missouri State West-Plains at 2:00 and then #6 Iowa Western at 10:00 Saturday morning. The Lady Saints will return to Jayhawk West Conference action Wednesday night at Pratt in a match that will most likely have a large impact on who wins the conference race this season.

For a photo gallery of pictures throughout the evening Wednesday CLICK HERE and click on the picture thumbnail in the top left corner of the page and continue clicking on the pictures until you have seen them all!
After a season in which they went 23-9, the Seward County Saints Basketball Team will open the season ranked 5th in the country according to Sporting News Magazine. Seward returns 5 of their top 6 players from a season ago including Latiq Agard, Tony Smith, Marcus James, Jon Tassin, and Robert Sigala, equating to approximately 70% of their scoring from last year. That along with the addition of transfer Donte McCarter who averaged over 16 points and 5 assists last season at Pitt Community College in Texas and a slew of other talented newcomers should make Seward the team to beat in the West this season. The other four teams listed in the top 5 were Three Rivers, Midland, Tallahassee, and Mount San Jacinto with Hutchinson and Coffeyville the only other Jayhawk teams to draw interest in the report. Along with the team accolades, Saints guard Tony Smith was named to the 5th team All-American list after a season in which he averaged 14 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.2 steals per contest. Continuing their preseason scrimmages throughout the end of the month the Saints will lace their sneakers up for real Friday, November 7th in their home Pepsi Classic against the Colorado Kings at 8:00.
Starting a stretch in which they would play eight straight teams that are or were ranked in the NJCAA top 20, the Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball team couldn’t have asked for much of a better start at their home Ozfest Invitational tournament. Seward’s first test was against Arizona Western, a team who was coming fresh off of a whooping of #10 Eastern Arizona in a match that the Gila Monsters failed to reach even the 10 point mark in the last two sets. The Lady Saints would pop the Matadors bubble early however in their trip to the Sunflower State as Seward took early 12-4, 18-6, and 20-12 leads in the first game before holding off a late run by Arizona Western to win game one 25-19 on Taryn Westerman’s second tip of the game to go down as a kill. The second set wouldn’t be nearly as easy however as Western weathered an early 5-2 Seward lead to take a 7-6 lead early in the set. Seward remained down one most of the second game and fell behind as many as 4 at 16-12 before pulling things together and tying the game up at 22 late with a kill from Sheina Fernandes. The Lady Saints were able to reach game point up 25-24 but the Mats picked up a side out to tie the game back up at 25. Seward would battle to win the game’s final two points to take game two 27-25 and take a 2-0 lead in the match. The Lady Saints wouldn’t be able to mount such a comeback in game three with the Matador’s however as Arizona Western never trailed in the game as they went on to win 25-21 to force a fourth game. Going back and forth through much of the first part of the 4th game, Seward was able to take an 11-10 lead with three straight points and never looked back from there. Westerman and Fernandes combined on a block on the outside to but Seward up 17-12 and the Lady Saints would take on another point to make it 18-12 as they looked to close the match. Arizona Western wasn’t ready to quit though as three straight points would cut the deficit in half at 18-15 in favor of the gals in green. Seward would lock it in after the mini run from the Mats and later on Diana Castrillon would notch a kill to give the Lady Saints a 21-16 lead and after a combo block from Kelen Ricardo and Fernandes to make the score 24-19, Lindsey Miller blasted her 9th kill of the match to give Seward the 25-21 game four win to seal up the 3-1 victory. Castrillon had a season high 20 kills to go along with 15 digs in the win while LaKendra Sanders and Sheina Fernandes combined for 22 kills and 8 blocks. Amanda Savage had a team high 21 digs in the victory and outside hitter Lindsey Miller wasn’t far behind with 18 of her own. Both Seward setters played well in the win with Maddy Taylor successfully connecting on 30 of 57 set attempts and Taryn Westerman on 27 of 52 combining for a .523 mark in the match.
For their second match of the day Seward would take on Midland, another team who came in as a threat having knocked off #6 Miami-Dade College earlier in the season, but that match as well wouldn’t live up to the drama as the Lady Saints took care of the Chaps rather easily in four games. Early on Taryn Westerman and Sheina Fernandes combined on a block on the right side to give Seward a 4-1 lead in game one and a little bit later on Kelen Ricardo smashed the leather to the floor to put the Lady Saints up 8-4. Midland would make their run and actually hold a 20-19 lead late but Fernandes picked up her 3rd kill of the first set to tie the game at 20 apiece to spur a 6 point run that would eventually give Seward a 25-20 game one win. The second game would be a reversal of scripts as Midland jumped out to an 8-3 lead and would hold the advantage the distance. Lindsey Miller chopped the lead to 11-9 with a kill but later opened it up to 17-11 before a block from Castrillon and Fernandes would make it 17-12. Seward would make it close late as Sanders pounded one to the floor to make it 24-22 and another point got the Lady Saints to within one at 24-23 but the Chaps were able to get a side out to pull out the game two win 25-23. After falling behind in the fourth game 4-2, Seward rallied to take a 7-5 lead thanks in part to another kill by Lindsey Miller and would hold the lead the rest of the way. After going up 14-8 behind a right side kill from Ricardo, the Lady Saints would sail to the 25-15 win and take a 2-1 lead on the Chaps. Seward would continue their dominance in game four and sparked by a flurry of aces from Miller, Castrillon, and Fernandes would take the set 25-10 and the match 3-1. In the win Castrillon and Fernandes would pace the Lady Saints offense with 15 and 12 kills respectively while Taryn Westerman turned in a solid all around performance with a team high 23 assists, and 19 digs to go along with 6 big blocks. Speaking of blocks, was Sheina Fernandes ever big in the middle for Seward in the Midland victory recording a double digit block match for the second time in her career with 10 including 3 solo tallies.
For their tournament finale, the Lady Saints ran up against a 4th ranked Western Nebraska squad who handed them one of their four losses on the season in an earlier matchup in the Pizza Hut Invitational. The hype lived up to its billing in this one as both teams strung together 3 and 4 point runs throughout the first game and found themselves deadlocked at 20 late in game one. Kelen Ricardo would break the tie with a kill to give Seward a 21-20 lead but Western Nebraska would quickly answer that with three straight points to go up 23-21. After getting it to within one at 23-22 WNCC would finish the Lady Saints off with a pair of points to end the game 25-22 and give Western a 1-0 lead. In game two Seward would play right alongside the nations #4 team as a Maddy Taylor ace and a Lindsey Miller kill would give the Lady Saints a 12-10 lead midway through. After tying the match at 13, back to back aces by All-Tournament Team setter Sabina Piegza would put Western up 2 and Seward would never be able to recover as they fell by four 25-21. Down 2-0 the air seemed to be sucked out of the Greenhouse and the Lady Saints team as when the final gun sounded in game three Seward found themselves on the wrong end of a 25-14 score as they were handed just their 5th loss of the season. In the defeat Diana Castrillon was the Lady Saints leading attacker with 9 kills while no other Seward player besides Castrillon and Sheina Fernandes would have more than three kills. Amanda Savage’s 14 digs led the team while Lindsey Miller was second with 10. Fernandes held up a strong block for the third straight match in the tournament recording four rejections against a solid hitting Cougar club.
Going 2-1 and finishing in third place in the tournament, Seward landed Diana Castrillon and Sheina Fernandes on the All-Tournament Team. They are now 22-5 overall on the year heading into a big conference match with #17 Hutchinson Wednesday night in the Greenhouse. Wednesday will be “Dig Pink” night where both teams will wear pink jerseys and attire and fans are asked to wear pink and donate money to help support breast cancer awareness and research. Make sure to head on over to the Pinkhouse Wednesday night at 6:30 and be ready to get loud to help out your Lady Saints against the rival Dragons!!

For complete results from the Landmark Real Estate Center Ozfest Invitational including game scores, All-Tournament Team and more CLICK HERE
Ok so maybe it didn’t have the drama of the win at Hutchinson or the feel of sweeping Pratt in the Greenhouse but the Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball Team did something that not a whole lot of other NJCAA programs around the country can contend with; they won their 20th match of the season for the 18th consecutive year.
Seward took their perfect conference record into the Perryman Center in Garden City Wednesday night taking on a struggling Broncbusters team that was down to six total players at days start. Game one was all Seward as after a short lived 2-0 lead from Garden, the Lady Saints reeled off 5 straight points to go up 5-2 and after a ‘Busters side out, a combo block from Kelen Ricardo and LaKendra Sanders pushed the Lady Saints out to a 6-3 lead. Moving up 11-4 later on and 15-8 midway through, the Lady Saints decided it was time to finish off game number one and scored 10 of the games final 11 points capped by a crosscourt bullet from Diana Castrillon to win the first set 25-9. In the second game Garden City came out pesky and held the lead for a good portion of the first half of the set. After a pair of Seward points to break a 10-10 tie, the Lady Saints found themselves up 12-10 and never looked back from there. Taryn Westerman picked up a kill to put the Lady Saints up 17-11 and later on Katie Thomas notched a solo block to put Seward up ten at 23-13. But just when it looked to be another blowout win, the Lady ‘Busters fought back to as close as 23-17 before eventually falling 25-19 to the nations 11th ranked team. Game three wouldn’t be nearly as close as Lindsey Miller served her way to 9 straight points to give Seward an insurmountable 9-2 lead to open the set and Stacie Carver recorded a kill shortly after to extend the lead to 13-2. Getting out all the way to a 16-3 lead, an energetic Seward group held a lead of 22-10 after Miller picked up a back row kill and the Lady Saints unofficial closer Lexie Baldwin came in the end of the set to hammer one to the floor and give Seward the 25-11 game three win to complete the sweep.
Diana Castrillon paced the Lady Saints offense with 12 kills in 22 attacks while Sheina Fernandes finished 2nd with 8 kills on 11 attempts. Feeding the Seward hitters the balls in the win were Maddy Taylor who connected on 24 of 33 attempts for a career high .727 set percentage and Taryn Westerman who had a nice all around game with 13 assists, 7 kills, and 2 solo blocks. Lindsey Miller also found a way to fill up the stat sheet collecting a team high 13 digs and 6 aces while chipping in with 6 kills as well.
The win pushes the Lady Saints to 8-0 in Jayhawk West Conference play which gives them a full two game lead on Pratt and Hutchinson with just 4 matches remaining. Overall Seward is now 20-4 heading into a tough stretch of matches where they will take on 8 straight teams that are or have been ranked in the NJCAA top 20 this season. Their stretch starts tomorrow in the Landmark Real Estate Center Ozfest Invitational where they will take on Arizona Western at 2:00 before tangling with Midland at 6:00. To check on all action in the 2009 Ozfest Invitational CLICK HERE, or CLICK HERE for Lady Saints scoring updates, and as always Twitter updates will be posted throughout all three Lady Saints matches in the tournament.
If you asked Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball coach Bert Luallen at the first day of team practice, where he thought his 2009 team would be midway through the conference season, I can almost guarantee he wouldn’t have answered it as rosy as where the Lady Saints sit right now. After a Wednesday night road win in Dodge City, Seward is now 6-0 in Jayhawk West Conference play after defeating each of its conference mates in the first round of play. Even better, the three teams tied for second place, Pratt, Barton County, and Hutchinson all have two losses giving the Lady Saints a full two game lead over the field with just six matches left to play.
Playing against a Dodge City team that has been depleted by injuries and setting at the bottom of the conference, Seward came out Wednesday night like the Conqs were going to roll over and give them an easy victory. To the contrary, Dodge City came out eager for their shot at the #12 team in the country and made Seward earn their 18th win of the season. After falling behind 3-2 early in game one, Seward would fight back to take a 7-5 lead behind a kill from LaKendra Sanders and hold the lead the rest of the first set. A strong first game by Sheina Fernandes coupled with a few Lady Conq errors had Seward up 20-12 late. Dodge would continue to fight late but a block from Sanders and Katie Thomas sealed the game one victory at 25-16. Seward would lead wire to wire in game two but Dodge kept the set close throughout. Lindsey Miller would put the Lady Saints up 3-1 early on and a tip from Maddy Taylor would catch the Dodge defense off guard and give Seward a 16-10 advantage. The Lady Saints would go up 20-14 but three straight points from Dodge City would put the pressure on the gals in green at 20-17. That’s when Seward turned to their sophomore captain Miller who called for the ball and put it to the floor down the line to give Seward the 25-19 win in game two. Looking for the sweep in game three Seward trailed Dodge throughout most of the first half of the set. An ace by Taylor drew the Lady Saints to within one at 9-8 and a kill from Diana Castrillon would even the match at 10 a piece later on. Fernandes would finish off a set from Taryn Westerman to put Seward up 13-11 but Dodge would battle back to tie the game at 16 minutes later. From that point on it was all Seward as they would score 9 of the game’s final 11 points to come out with the 25-18 victory to complete the sweep.
Lindsey Miller had a team high 9 kills on the night while LaKendra Sanders and Diana Castrillon would chip in 7 each committing just one error. Katie Thomas set a new career high with 5 kills in 8 chances drawing her first start of the season while also picking up a block in the match. Maddy Taylor connected on 15 of 33 set attempts on the night and also led the team with 4 aces in the contest. Amanda Savage racked up 16 digs in the 3 game match including 9 in the Lady Saints 25-19 game two win. Sheina Fernandes had a solid all-around night picking up 6 kills on 10 attempts while notching an assist, an ace, and a pair of blocks in the win.
The win wraps up a perfect first half of conference play for the Lady Saints at 6-0 and pushes their overall record to 18-4 on the year. Possibly even more impressive than the 6-0 record is the fact that that Seward has played just 3 games over the minimum in those 6 conference wins with 4 sweeps, a 4 game match with Barton, and of course their epic 5 game battle with Hutchinson. They won’t have much time to celebrate Wednesdays victory as they jump right back into conference action Friday at home against Colby at 6:30.