The first half of September was a rather memorable one for the Seward County Lady Saints volleyball team. A 6-1 record including wins over #14 Pratt, their rivals Hutchinson, as well as a pair of victories over teams from the Lone Star State, had Seward off to a 9-2 start and a 3-0 record in Jayhawk West Conference play. The second half of the month wasn’t nearly as impressive as they went 1-7 and fell back in the pack in conference play but a thrilling 5 set win over the Hutchinson Blue Dragons in the Sports Arena on Wednesday made those memories fade into the background for a bit as they looked to have gotten things back on track.
It didn’t have the allure that a normal Seward/Hutch battle usually has with neither team playing particularly well and for the first time in a long time, neither team ranked inside the NJCAA top 20, but Wednesday night in Hutchinson’s Sports Arena still had the intensity of a rivalry match and from the momentum shifts to a tight finish, things were exciting to watch between the Lady Saints and Lady Dragons. The two teams went back and forth in the start of game one with neither team able to get out in front until the Lady Saints went on a 6-0 run with the game tied 10-10. The streak started with back to back kills from Aislyn Karney and coupled with a pair of hitting errors from Hutch and Seward kills from Sheina Fernandes and Courtney Geesing. Up 16-10 the Lady Saints were starting to get that good feeling back as the teams traded points to 17-11, but a Hutch kill and seven straight Seward errors quickly erased the Lady Saints lead and put the Blue Dragons ahead 18-17 and Seward could not stop the train that was now Hutchinson as Hutch would score 4 more points to make it 11 straight to take a 22-17 lead that the Lady Saints couldn’t overcome. Seward would get to within 3 at 22-19 but Hutch would score the last 3 in the game to take game one 25-19.
Hutchinson would carry the momentum over into game two as they pulled out to a 10-4 lead before Seward began to regroup. The Lady Saints would score six of the next seven points to climb to within one as Fernandes began to get hot. The reigning Jayhawk West Conference Freshman of the Year would pick up 5 kills and push Seward to a 15-13 advantage and force a Hutch timeout. With the lead still in Seward’s favor at 18-17, a service error would tie the game and Hutchinson would score two more points to take a 20-18 lead late. Seward would tie the game back up at 20 and then 21 but the Dragons would score four of the game’s final five points to take game two 25-22 and put the Lady Saints in a gaping 2-0 hole.
Thankfully on this night the Lady Saints were given just what the doctor ordered and that was a 10 minute break after the first two games. In a choice that is the host schools, Hutchinson routinely takes the break to support promotions and such but on this night it might have just been the thing that doomed their home team. The teams would play even out of the locker rooms to 9-9 but Seward would score four straight on the back of 3 straight kills from Fernandes to go ahead 13-9. The Lady Saints would hold that lead to 16-12 and would score the next two points on kills from Geesing and Stacie Carver to match their largest lead of the night at 18-12. The teams would go back and forth through the remainder of game three but it wasn’t enough for Hutch as Seward’s lead held and the Lady Saints went on to take it 25-18.
In game four, the Lady Saints would get out to a 3-0 lead and would keep the same distance from the Dragons until they were able to cut the lead to two and then one at 10-9. With the game again tight, Karney, Daiane Souza, and Fernandes picked up consecutive kills and an attack error from Hutch would put the Lady Saints up five at 14-9. Seward would continue to grow the lead, all the way up to 20-11 before Hutch could rebound but it was far too little too late as the Lady Saints went on to take game four 25-17 to force a deciding game five.
With all the momentum on their side, Seward again bolted out to a 3-0 lead in game five with everything on the line. They would keep that lead to 6-3 and then 9-6 with an ace from Madison Winkelman. The Lady Saint lead would grow to five with a service error from Hutch to make it 12-7 but the Dragons weren’t ready to give up in front of a jazzed up home crowed and cut the lead back to two with three straight points at 12-10. With Katie Marks at the service line, the Lady Saints scored the next two points and looked to be in control at 14-10 with four match points in front of them. With a late flurry the Lady Dragons knotted it up at 14 and looked to have regained the momentum they had lost earlier in the night but a crucial service error followed by a well placed hit from Geesing would seal their fate as the Lady Saints went on to take the game and the match with a 16-14 game five win.
Fernandes was dominate in the win for Seward, hammering a season high 22 kills down for the Lady Saints while also being a part of 4 of Seward’s 6 blocks in the contest. Geesing dialed up a well timed double double with 10 kills and 12 digs and Carver, Karney, and Isabela Silva would all finish the match with 8 kills. Souza led the team with 2 solo blocks to go along with a combo block with Fernandes and Winkelman and Marks both reached double digits in digs with 11 and 10 respectively. Maddy Taylor finished with a team high 29 assists to go along with an ace and 7 digs while Jordan Martin pitched in 12 assists and 3 digs.
The much needed win moves Seward to 4-3 in conference play and 11-9 overall on the season. It is the second straight season that the Lady Saints have went into the Sports Arena in Hutchinson and come away with a victory, something that they failed to do during the previous 8 seasons before that. Now through with the first half of conference play, the Lady Saints will set their eyes on the second half and a strong finish that will start Saturday when they travel to the renovated Beaver Dome in Pratt to take on a Lady Beaver squad who’s only conference loss this season came at the hands of Seward in early September.
It doesn’t happen very often and I am sure the Seward County Lady Saints and their fans are hoping it doesn’t happen again for a while. Monday night in front of a nice crowd in the Greenhouse, the Lady Saints were swept by the Colby Trojans in three games as their skid of inconsistent play continued as they have now lost 7 of their last 8 matches.
The Lady Saints fell behind early 7-4 in game one against the Trojans but would get back to back blocks from Stacie Carver and Sheina Fernandes to bring them to within one later on at 11-10. They would keep it close throughout the game but could never seem to breakthrough and take the lead and after a spell of poor passing, found themselves behind 22-18. On the ropes the Lady Saints would battle back to within one again but would be on the wrong end of a late whistle and a shanked pass would finish it as they lost game one 25-22.
Seward would open with a good start in game two with Colby as they took an early 5-2 lead on an ace from Courtney Geesing. How fast the tide can change however as the Trojans stormed back to go up 9-6 and then swelled their advantage to 7 at 18-11 as the Seward pass again eluded them. It wouldn’t get much closer than that as Colby would go on to take game two 25-17 as the Lady Saints found themselves deep in an 0-2 hole.
In game three the Lady Saints looked like they had had enough as they jumped out on top 6-3 but the lead slowly faded and after 20 points were through, the teams were tied at 10 apiece. Tied at 15 moments later, Seward would get a kill from Carver and then a pair of blocks from Fernandes and Daiane Souza to pull ahead 18-15. Their lead would reach 4 late in the game as Maddy Taylor connected with Souza to make it 21-17. Colby would score the next three points to pull to within one at 21-20 after more poor Lady Saints passing and things would be tied at 22 later on as both teams battled hard. A long back and forth volley would ensue on the next point and the Lady Saints would come away with it on a kill from Carver to put them up 23-22. On the next play a Seward attack looked to have hit the floor on the Colby side but the whistle was not blown and the Trojans would go on to win the point and tie things at 23. The teams would trade the next two points but Colby would win the final two of the match as they would erase the 4 point late Seward lead to come away with the 26-24 win to take the match in three.
Fernandes, Carver, and Souza all finished with 7 kills for the Lady Saints in the loss while Taylor collected 18 assists and would pass the 1,000 mark in her career with a game one hookup with Geesing. Madison Winkelman led the team with 8 digs and Souza paced the club with 4 blocks.
The loss drops the Lady Saints to 10-9 on the season but more importantly 3-3 in Jayhawk West Conference action. Seward now sits in 6th place out of 8 teams in the league and is a full 2 games behind conference leading Dodge after the loss. The Lady Saints won’t have much time to sulk after the defeat however as they will hit the road tonight to take on their rival, the Hutchinson Lady Blue Dragons in the Sports Arena in a matchup of the conferences last two champions. Video of tonight’s match will stream live at 6:30 by clicking on this link and registering for free.

It was a trip to forget for the Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball team as they entered the 2010 Wyo-Braska Shootout 9-3 and ranked 19th in the country and came out 1-5 and clear out of the NJCAA polls. Thursday they won their first game of the day over Dodge but then dropped the next three to fall to the Conqs in a Jayhawk West Conference match in Torrington, Wyoming. They then were on the short end of their next six games, losing to Casper and #3 Western Nebraska to run their losing streak to 4 in a row dating back to last week’s loss at Barton. Their luck wouldn’t change much as they dropped their first match of Friday in 3 games to Northwest College but then picked up a 3 game win over Sheridan to stop the slide. In their finale of the tournament they were beat by the 6th ranked team in the country Western Wyoming in 3 straight games and came home at 10-8.
The Lady Saints kicked things off with a neutral court matchup with Jayhawk Conference leaders Dodge City in Torrington. Seward played well in game one, continuing their recent domination of the Conqs as they won 25-23. In game two the script was flipped as Dodge evened things up with a 25-23 win of their own. The Lady Saints couldn’t stop the Dodge momentum in game three and lost 25-17 after recording 7 hitting errors and 3 service errors. It wouldn’t get much better in game four as the Lady Saints looked to force a game five as the Conqs would take control early and put it on cruise control as they took the match 3-1 behind a 25-18 game four win. Sheina Fernandes finished with 14 kills and 5 blocks in the loss while Aislyn Karney finished with 11 kills for Seward. Courtney Geesing narrowly missed another double double for the Lady Saints as she ended the match with 9 kills and 9 digs while Madison Winkelman gave her best effort on defense with a team high 18 digs and 2 aces. The loss to Dodge was the first for the Lady Saints since Bert Luallen took over as Head Coach.
After a 45 minute drive to Scottsbluff, Nebraska the Lady Saints were ready for their second match of the day, this time against Casper College. Well at least they were supposed to have been ready. A match which included 30 errors and just 38 points scored for the Lady Saints would not be a winning combination. Seward dropped game one to Casper by a big margin of 25-14 and recovered to put up more of a fight in game two but it wasn’t enough as they lost 25-23 to fall behind 2-0. All of their energy must have been used up in the tight game two as they fell by another big margin of 9, 25-16 in game three as they were swept by the T-Birds. No Lady Saint recorded more than Fernandes’ 7 kills in the match while Winkelman was the only player to record 10 or more digs with 11 and Karney was the only Seward front liner to have more than 2 blocks as she ended with 4.
The Lady Saints road would not get any easier, in fact it would get a lot harder as next in front of them was the 3rd ranked Western Nebraska Cougars on their home floor in the Cougar Den. In game one the Lady Saints were able to manage just 7 kills and fell 25-18 while in game two they would boost the number up to 11 but 6 hitting errors would prove costly as they dropped it 25-16. Looking to hold off the sweep in game three the Lady Saints couldn’t get over the hump as they lost 25-17 as the 2009 National Runners Up took home the broom to drop Seward to 0-3 on the day. Fernandes was the lone bright spot offensively as she finished with 11 kills while the defense struggled as well with just 25 total digs and 4 blocks as a team.
Friday was a new day, well that was the thought going into their matchup with Northwest College. However, the Trappers had other ideas as they jumped all over the Lady Saints in game one 25-13 and wouldn’t lift their foot to give Seward a breath. They would take game two 25-17 and game three 25-16 as the Seward would drop their 12th consecutive set overall and their 5th match in a row to fall to 9-7 on the year. Fernandes ended the match with 13 kills and 2 errors while the rest of the Lady Saints combined for just 17 kills and 13 errors.
Apparently the losing wasn’t sitting well with Seward, as expected and they would break out of their slump in a big way in their next match against Sheridan. Seward would bang down 14 kills and have just 3 errors in game one against the Generals to win 25-18 and break the dubious streak. In game two the Lady Saints turned to defense to get the job done and that is exactly what they got from Stacie Carver who had 3 blocks in the 25-13 game two win. Looking to close out a sweep of their own the Lady Saints put together 14 kills and 6 blocks in game three as they picked up the victory on a 25-17 game three win. Fernandes had a big match for Seward, putting up 17 kills and 8 blocks while Maddy Taylor did a good job putting the ball on her hands throughout the match as she finished with 17 assists in 37 tries. Isabela Silva would lead the team in aces with 3 and Geesing would pace the club with 10 digs. Carver would end up with a career high 7 blocks in the match and Daiane Souza would chip in 4 in the victory.
In their 6th match in a day and a half, the Lady Saints would run up against a tall order, and I mean TALL order as they squared off with the 6th ranked team in the country, the Western Wyoming Mustangs. Western would start a front line of 6’4, 6’2, 6’1 against Seward off the bat and it was just too much for the Lady Saints to handle. Seward would hit just .146 in game one as they fell 25-18 and managed just 7 kills in a 25-16 game two loss. In game three the Lady Saints couldn’t get anything going as they dropped the game 25-15 to finish the tournament on a sour note. Geesing led the team in kills with 7 to go along with her team high 9 digs while Souza recorded Seward’s only 2 blocks in the entire match.
The weekend left the Lady Saints crawling home at 10-9 on the season and 3-2 in Jayhawk West Conference play.
The Seward County Lady Saints Tennis team continued their fall season this weekend in Lindsborg facing a field of 12 four year schools and just 1 other junior college in the Bethany Invitational. The Lady Saints finished the tournament with an 18-12 record overall including a 11-9 mark in singles play and an impressive 7-3 in doubles action.
In the #1 singles bracket Dariya Dashutina would finish 5th after a 6-3, 6-2 win over Emporia in the first round and a 6-3, 2-6, 10-6 loss to William Jewell in the quarters. Also in the top singles bracket Fanny Benincasa would shake off a slow start in a 6-2, 0-6, 10-7 loss to William Jewell in the first round to go 2-1 in consolation bracket play where she would eventually fall to Washburn 8-5 in the championship.
The Lady Saints would again place a pair of players in the #2 singles bracket where Kauana Goncalves was dropped by Newman in the first round but would advance to the consolation semis with a win over Friends 8-3, but would fall in the next round 8-5 to Bethany to finish 3rd in that bracket. Salitza Abrantes took care of Hastings 7-5, 6-3 to move onto the quarters but lost to Washburn 6-4, 6-0 to finish the tournament in 5th place.
Marcella Abrantes would run the show in #3 singles, beating Southwest Baptist 7-6 (2), 6-1 in the first round before advancing to take out Newman 6-1, 6-2 in the quarters and Washburn 3-6, 6-3, 10-5 in the semis to advance to the championship match. In the title match, Abrantes played a nailbiter with William Jewell where she came out on top 6-4, 1-6, 10-7 to take home the hardware.
Lindy Kowalchuk went 0-2 in #6 singles play, falling 6-2, 6-3 in the first round and then 8-6 to Newman in the consolation bracket to finish her day. In #7 singles Caitlin Workman lost to Hays 6-2, 6-3 in the opening round but won her two consolation bracket matches 8-5 and 8-3 to take home the consolation bracket title.
In doubles action Dashutina and Benincasa teamed up to finish 3rd in the #1 bracket as they beat Baker 8-0 and Washburn 8-2 before falling to Newman 8-5 in the semis. In #2 doubles Goncalves and Abrantes would bounce back from a 8-2 opening round loss to William Jewell to win all three of their consolation bracket matches against Baker, Newman, and Nebraska Weslayan 8-5, 8-4, and 8-6 respectively to win that bracket. The final Lady Saints doubles pair to play was Abrantes and Kowalchuk who took home 3rd place after an 8-5 win in the first round and then an 8-4 victory over Barton in the quarters to advance to the semis where they would fall 9-7 in a great battle with Nebraska Wesleyan to finish 3rd.
The Lady Saints will next head to McPherson on Friday to take on the Bulldogs before moving on to play Hesston on Saturday on the road.
The Seward County Saints Tennis team continued their march as one of the finest in the region this weekend as they took on a host of four year schools as well as Barton CC and came out 32-15 overall at the Bethany Invitational. Seward was 20-11 in singles action and a dominating 12-4 in doubles play on the weekend.

In #1 singles the Saints placed two players in the bracket as Felipe Cruz and Laracio Lobo entered the #1 draw. Lobo would lose a tough opening round match 4-6, 6-0, 10-8 to Washburn but would even his record at 1-1 with an 8-5 win over Nebraska Wesleyan in the consolation bracket. Cruz would cruise through his first two matches as he won in the opening round 6-0, 6-2 and then took out William Jewell 6-3, 6-2 to move onto the semis where he fell to Southwest Baptist 7-5, 6-2 to finish 3rd in the tournament.

Nathan Nelmes and Raphael Machado would be the Saints representatives in #2 singles and would go a combined 5-1 and Machado would take home a title at the end of the weekend. Nelmes beat Barton in his opening round 6-2, 6-1 but was upended by Washburn in the quarters 8-6 (5), 2-6, 10-8 to finish 5th in the bracket. Machado would win a couple of tough battles in his road to the finals, beating Baker 6-4, 6-4 and then Nebraska Wesleyan 7-5, 6-1 to move to the semis. In the semis he would take care of Washburn 6-1, 2-6, 10-7 to advance to the finals against a familiar smiling face for Saints fans. Carlos Souza who played for the Saints from 2008-2010 would meet up with Machado in the final match and the Saints new young gun would drop the former Saint Souza 6-2, 6-2 to win the championship. Souza joked with coach Darin Workman afterwards saying “I am glad that I graduated last year. If I was on the team this year I might not get to play.” Kind words coming from a member of the Saints squad that finished 10th at last year’s National Tournament.

Eduardo Munoz would have a tough day in #3 singles, dropping both of his matches on the day 5-7, 6-3, 10-6 and then 8-3 to Kansas Wesleyan in the consolation bracket to finish his day. Also playing in the #3 bracket for the Saints was Christiano Mendes who would breeze to the semifinals with 6-1, 6-1 wins in his first two matches before falling to Washburn 6-4, 3-6, 10-5 to end his day in 3rd place overall.

In #4 singles the Saints would show very well as Lucas Izkovitz and Rafael Raw put on a show. Raw finished 3rd after a 7-5, 6-3 win over Baker in the opening round followed by a 2-6, 8-6, 10-4 win over Hastings in the quarters before falling 6-3, 6-3 to William Jewell in the semis to finish the second runner-up. On the opposite side of the bracket Izkovitz dominated, marching through the competition without losing a set on his way to the title. He beat William Jewell 6-2, 6-2 in the first round, Bethany 6-0, 6-2 in the second round, Juan Gutierrez 6-1, 6-1 in the semis and then William Jewell again in the finals 7-5, 6-2 to win.

Levan Gabeshvilli would go 1-1 in the #4 singles draw as he fell in his first match 6-4, 6-2 to William Jewell but rebounded with an 8-2 win over Nebraska Wesleyan to finish the weekend even. Alex Richards also playing in the #4 draw finished 1-1 as well, winning 6-3, 6-3 over Hays in his opener before falling 8-6, 6-4 to put him 5th as his tournament came to an end.

In #5 singles Landon Harp was the man for the Saints, going 1-1 with a loss to Kansas Wesleyan 6-3, 7-5 and a win over Hays 8-4 in the consolation bracket. Fellow Liberal native Aaron Shaffer went 1-1 as well with a first round win over Baker 6-4, 6-4 and a loss in the quarters to Washburn 6-0, 6-0 to put him 5th.

In doubles play the Saints would be the team to beat as Lobo and Nelmes were on one side of the draw and Cruz and Machado were on the other in the #1 bracket. Lobo and Nelmes would lose their first match 8-4 but would even their record with an 8-2 win in the consolation bracket. Cruz and Machado would go 3-1 and play for the championship with 8-5 wins in the first three rounds over Nebraska Wesleyan, Southwest Baptist, and Washburn before falling in the title match 8-3 to Southwest Baptist.

#2 doubles is where the Saints put on a real show for the ages as Munoz and Raw would find themselves opposite Mendes and Izkovitz as the bracket played itself out. Munoz and Raw would take the top half of the bracket with 8-3, 8-4, 8-3 wins over Friends, Hays, and Bethany to advance to the finals while Mendes and Izkovitz won 8-3 over Newman, 8-3 over William Jewell, and 8-5 over Washburn to find their way to the championship match. The two Seward teams would not play each other and therefore shared the championship with matching 3-0 records.

Richards and Gabashvilli were one of two Seward County teams in #3 doubles action as they went 1-1 with an 8-1 win in the first round over Kansas Wesleyan before falling 8-1 to Newman in the second round to end their day. Harp and Shaffer also combined in the #3 bracket and wend 1-1 as well after dropping a close 8-6 battle in the first round before rebounding to win 8-5 over Hays in the consolation bracket to finish even for the day.

The Saints now travel to McPherson and Hesston this weekend where they will take on the Bulldogs on Friday and the Larks on Saturday as they continue fall action.
After going 4-2 in singles play against Newman University on Tuesday, the Seward County Lady Saints needed just 1 win in doubles play to come out no worse than even but they couldn’t seal the deal as they lost all three doubles contests to fall 6-4 to the Jets in their first dual of the fall season.
Dariya Dashutina played #1 singles for Seward Tuesday and fell by matching 6-3 scores to Laryssa Ferreira in the first match of the day. Fanny Benincasa tied things up for the Lady Saints by taking down Hillary Hicks 6-2, 6-3 to even things at 1. Kauana Goncalves played possibly the most impressive match of the day for Seward as she dropped Ashley Dunham 6-3, 6-0 to put the Lady Saints up 2-1. Seward built onto their lead in #4 singles as Salitza Abrantes won 7-6 (7-5) and 6-4 over Emily Gerber and Marcella Abrantes chalked up a win as well with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Christa Lawlor. Lindy Kowalchuk and Alison Gerber played out a long match as Kowalchuk took the first set 7-6 (7-4) before Gerber took the second 6-3 to even things up. In the tie break Gerber outlasted the Lady Saints Canadian 10-4 to cut the Seward lead to 4-2. In #7 singles play Caitlin Workman matched up with Anna Le for the second time in 3 days after the two played a 6-1, 6-1 decision in favor of Le in Oklahoma City last weekend. This time Workman was ready as she played Le to a tight 6-4, 7-5 match with the Jets coming out on top to leave Seward up 4-3 as singles play came to a conclusion.
In doubles action the Lady Saints were stymied by the Jets as Dashutina and Benincasa were beaten 9-7 in a thriller against Ferreira and Hicks to lead things off. In #2 doubles it was all Newman as Lawlor and Dunham dominated Goncalves and S. Abrantes 8-1 to take a 5-4 lead overall. With the match deciding on the #3 doubles match between M. Abrantes and Kowalchuk the Jets again bared down as Emily and Allison Gerber beat the Lady Saints pair 8-4 to take home the dual for the Jets 6-4 overall.
The Lady Saints next action will come this weekend as they go to Bethany College in Lindsborg to play in a tournament there followed by their next dual next Friday at McPherson.
After a successful first weekend of the season, the Seward County Saints Men’s Tennis team was excited to hit the court again Tuesday as it traveled to Wichita to take on the Newman University Jets. What the young Saints squad lacked in experience against the 4-year University Jets, they made up for with their skills as they cruised to a 12-1 victory on the day in their first dual of the season.
The Saints were a perfect 9-0 in singles play on the day but not without a little bit of drama early on the afternoon. Laericeo Lobo played out of the #1 spot for the Saints and had to come back from an 0-1 deficit after falling 6-2 in the first set to Jimmy Dunseith. Lobo got things together and returned the favor on Dunseith 6-2 in the second set to even things at 1 apiece and then won the tie break 10-5 to come away with the win. Seward’s #2 player Nathan Nelmes faced the same situation as Lobo did earlier as he fell 6-4 in the first set but came back with a 6-1 statement win in the second set against Chris Copenhauer to even things up. Nelmes then took the momentum to the 3rd and final set where he won 10-5 as well to pick up the victory. A common theme on the day, Felipe Cruz followed his teammates footsteps in his first set against Kevin Klein by losing 6-3 and turning around for a big 6-1 2nd set win to knot things up. In the tie break Cruz and Klein battled back and forth with Cruz coming away with the 10-8 win. The rest of the Saints decided it would be more fun to just go ahead and take care of business and be done with it as Raphael Machado, Cristiano Mendes, Lucas Ikovitz, Eduardo Munoz, Alex Richards and Rafael Raw all won in straight sets to put the Saints a perfect 9-0 in singles play. Machado defeated Victor Bello 6-1, 6-4 while Mendes handled Nathan Peters easily 6-1, 6-2 to cruise to a victory. Izkovitz beat Andrew Haralson by matching 6-1 scores and Munoz beat Derek Emmert 6-3, 6-1. Richards took care of Jered Ferris in a close match 6-3, 7-5 and Raw wrapped things up with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Daniel Dragomirov.
In doubles action the Saints had to work a little bit harder as Lobo and Nelmes kicked things off with a 9-8 (7-2) thriller win over Dunseith and Bello before the Saints only loss came at the hands of Copenhauer and Klein who beat Cruz and Machado 8-6. Mendes and Izkovitz had no problem with Ferris and Haralson, winning 8-3 and Munoz and Raw teamed to knock off Dragomirov and Emmert 8-4 in the final match of the day.
The Saints next action comes this weekend as they travel to the Bethany Tournament in Lindsborg to play on Friday and Saturday.
In his 30 seasons at the helm for the Saints, Seward County Head Baseball Coach Galen McSpadden has coached approximately 600 players that have worn the Saints green and white. When the idea of starting up an alumni weekend event was kicked around, McSpadden was excited but knew there would be faces return to Liberal that may have changed a bit in the past three decades. However, little did the Hall of Fame coach expect what would happen when the registration forms started pouring back in; players from before his arrival to Liberal excited to come back to their old stomping grounds. Four players from the pre-McSpadden 1970’s were on hand as well as nine players from the skippers first few years in the 1980’s, six 1990’s Saints made it back, and 13 from the Saints dominating teams of the 2000’s.
The weekend kicked off with an informal get together at Billy’s where former Saints filed in a little at a time and grew to a much larger crowd than first expected. The festivities continued Saturday morning as coach McSpadden took the group around campus to check out the new improvements and updates to the athletic facilities, dorms, and more. The tour sparked conversations about the days when many of the former Saints played at Brent Gould Field with a chain link outfield fence and bloodied hands thanks to goat head stickers lodged in their hands from picking up the ball on a play, a far cry from the best stadium and playing surface in the conference that the Saints play on today. After the tour was done the team laced up the cleats, probably didn’t stretch nearly enough, and hopped into the batting cage to take their first swings in years during batting practice. With players families and children chasing down balls in the outfield, the alumni team loosened up their swings and then it was on to the home run derby.
The derby was originally slated to have just seven contestants but with the wind blowing out and the competitive juices flowing, the number doubled to 14 by the time the first hack was taken. Josh McSpadden got things started with 3 out of the park in round one but was tied atop the leader board a short time later as former Saints pitcher Rafe Alvarez launched 3 tape measure shots. Tanner Rindels took over the lead when it was his turn as he crushed the first 3 pitches he would see over the right field wall and added another later to finish the first round with 4. Ryan Nelson, a favorite from the get-go thanks to an 18 home run season in 2003 hit 3 as the round came to a close and placed himself into the semifinals with McSpadden, Alvarez, and Rindels. With home runs from round one carrying over to round two the foursome again went to battle with aluminum pinging in the air. McSpadden went first and added a pair of bombs to his collection to take the overall lead with 5. Alvarez was up next and was knocked out of the competition after failing to carry over his round one momentum to the semis and finished with 3. Nelson was the third to go and put on another show as he did in round one with a trio of light tower shots to run his cumulative total to 6. The first round leader, Rindels, was the last to go in the semis and managed to get 1 out of the park to force a swing-off between himself and McSpadden to advance to the finals. McSpadden would put the pressure on quickly with a shot to left center on the second pitch he saw to put him ahead and Rindels was unable to add to his total as McSpadden moved to the finals against Nelson. As the two moved to the finals, an interesting story line made its way to the forefront as the pair not only played together their two years at Seward, but also moved on to play at the University of Texas-Arlington together for their junior and senior seasons. Nelson was the favorite, as the two had their slates wiped clean for the final round, after hitting 18 home runs during his sophomore season in 2003 while McSpadden hit in front of him with just 3. However, the two would be tied with 1 home run a piece after their scheduled round of five outs so another swing-off was in line. Nelson failed to leave the yard on his first OT swing and McSpadden took one off the scoreboard in left center to seal the deal and claim the 2010 Saints Baseball Alumni Weekend Home Run Derby Championship. For his victory, it was announced that McSpadden would receive a customized Louisville Slugger bat to commemorate the title while Nelson didn’t go home empty handed as he picked up an autographed Troy Tulowitzki photo for being the runner-up.
After the derby was completed everyone in attendance was treated to a cookout courtesy of Great Western Dining, Jerry Odle, and Bob Carlile. The food was hot and ready for go for anyone who wanted to get their hands on some classic ballpark cuisine in hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as some chips and something to drink.
After the food was down it was time for a game against the current Saints and shortly the 18-20 year old group in the home dugout would find out that these “old” guys could play a little bit. After Stu Schlemeyer opened the game with a long at bat a leadoff walk, Jeramie Simpson showed why the New York Mets made him a draft pick of theirs after his 1994 sophomore season at Seward as he launched a tape measure shot over the right field wall and onto the car barn to give the alumni team an early lead. Just three batters later the fireworks show was back on display as it was Rindels turn to show off his trot around the bases as he ignited a 1-0 pitch deep over the right center field fence to put the alums up 4-0. However, the alumni team apparently ran out of gas after that as they would fail to score in any of the next 6 innings before getting back on the board again in the 8th with a 3 spot. Much like the home run derby numbers grew in the last moments of registration, a number of alums that were planning to sit out the game itself decided to throw on a helmet and jump in the batter’s box with their shorts and tennis shoes on which made for a fun site and atmosphere for all of those in attendance. In all, 27 former Saints played in the game while a few others decided to resist the urge, and chance for injury, to enter the game. Just a few of the fun sights during the game included current Saints pitcher Jace Moore squaring off with his father Stu Moore at the plate, who played for the Saints in 1984, 2000 grad Manny Grajeda behind the plate for the alumni team while his brother Andres Grajeda took an at bat late in the game, Ryan Nelson playing for the alumni team against a player he coached during his high school years in current Saints 2nd baseman Jordan Dallalio, as well as the battles between 1984 grad Doug Robbins on the mound, against players that weren’t even born when he donned the Saints green and white, at the plate against him. In the end it wasn’t the score that mattered or the stats that were accumulated, it was the ear to ear smiles that were on the faces of the alumni and their families and friends in the stands for the 3 hours they were back on the turf at Brent Gould Field.
After getting cleaned up and ready to go for the night it was off to Billy’s for dinner, a silent auction, and a donation drawing for the bunch. A filling meal ensued and once the plates were polished clean it was time for classic and some untold stories to come out. With Cory Bieber leading things off and getting the group loosened up stories from every end of the spectrum came flying out. Stories of ruined hunting permission for their Head Coach, to parakeets in the dugout, to finding a way to remove skunks from the field were abound as laughter filled the room from former players and families alike. Once the stories that could be told out loud were finished, the group turned their focus to the silent auction and donation drawing where an abundance of high quality autographed baseball memorabilia was up for grabs. Thanks to Kelli and Terry Tiffee, Mike Hargrove, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim bench coach Ron Roenicke, the alums had their shot at items such as a signed baseball of the reigning AL MVP Joe Mauer, a signed World Series Baseball from the 2009 MVP of the Fall Classic, Hideki Matsui, as well as a 25 card signed collection of the 1974 AL Rookie of the Year Hargrove, and much much more. Once all the ticket numbers were called, a wide variety of winners left the room happy and even those that didn’t happen to have their number called still left having had a great time.
The last thing left on the list for the weekend was the golf tournament bright and early Sunday morning at Willow Tree Golf Course. Eight groups teed off at just past 8:30, all looking to take home those final bragging rights for the year before heading their separate ways. After 18 holes of errant shots and a couple of balls in the fairways, the group met back up in the clubhouse as the winners were announced. The foursome of 1979 grads Craig Danforth and Steve Danforth as well as Bieber from 1986 and Gerry Danley from 1980 blew away the field with a score of -11 and were treated to their pick of a Saints hat, t-shirt, or sweatshirt for their win. The team of 1992 grad Mike DiOrio, 2002’s Ben DiOrio, Chad Hussey from 1991 and Clint Cowan from 1994 finished second and also received prizes after their round. Cowan also picked up a prize for having the longest drive on the 18th hole while 1990 alum Johnny Cardenas brought home the closest to the pin award for his shot on the 5th hole.
Planned relatively quickly and without much feel for what the response would be, the event by all was considered a major success. Not only did all that were involved have a great time, but the event also raised a nice amount of money to be put back into the Seward County baseball program that gave so many of these players a start to their careers in baseball. The former players that came back for the event were: Kent Brandon (’75), Randy Stoker (’75), Steve and Craig Danforth (’79), Gerry Danley (’80), Stu Moore (’84), Doug Robbins (’84), Ronnie Sumner (’84), Bill Harvey (’85), Travis Katzenmeier (’85), Cory Bieber (’86), Steve Paulino (’89), Chad Hussey (’91), Parker Lawrence (’91), Mike DiOrio (’92), Clint Cowan (’94), Jeramie Simpson (’94), Manny Grajeda (’00), Mike Smith (’00), Ben DiOrio (’02), Brad Masteller (’02), Josh McSpadden (’03), Ryan Nelson (’03), Curtis Hamilton (’07), Tanner Rindels (’07), Stu Schlemeyer (’07), Rafe Alvarez (’08), and Christian Kowalchuk (’08). Other Saints that contributed to the event were Noah Cortez (’02) and Bobby Doran (’09) who was unable to attend because of his Minor League Baseball teams playoff run. Also a big thanks goes out to class of 1999 graduate Scott Cadwallader who took care of all of the t-shirts for the event. With the success of the first year event and to the pleas of those that were there, Coach Galen McSpadden and the Saints plan to make the alumni weekend an annual event. When final dates are set for next year’s festivities, all former players will again be contacted via mail as well as any other resource available to let them know.

To All SCCC/ATS Alumni: It was great to get together finally after all of these years. The laughs, the stories, the memories, the games, and the golf turned out to be an outstanding inaugural SCCC/ATS Alumni Baseball Weekend. I must thank my son, Josh, Roy Allen our SID, and Brandie Jones, athletic department secretary, for initiating and putting this weekend together. I also must thank all of those who helped and donated to make the dinner, donation drawing, hamburger/hotdog feed enjoyable parts of a fun weekend. All of us here are looking forward to the future alumni weekends and hope that those who were able to make it this time will be able to return and those who did not will be able to attend. All of you alumni have helped build Seward County Baseball into a very successful and respected community college baseball program. I am very proud to have had the opportunity to have been one of your coaches and very proud of those whom I did not coach for helping make the program what it is today. I am looking forward to next years and only have two requests….invite the rest of your teammates and do a little running before you get here!

With All My Respect,
Galen McSpadden
With three returning sophomores and four new players ready to don the green and white, the Seward County Lady Saints Tennis team kicked off their 2010-2011 season last Friday in Oklahoma City and put up a good showing against some of the best players from around the region. The Lady Saints finished with 12 wins including four singles players reaching the semifinals or consolation semifinals or deeper and all three doubles teams accomplishing the same feat. On the day Seward ended up 6-10 in singles action and 6-4 in doubles.


The Lady Saints placed a pair of players in the #1 singles bracket as Dariya Dashutina and 2010 NJCAA Freshman of the Year Fanny Benincasa started play on the opposite side of the draw from each other. Dashutina first matched up with Lisa Olian from Dallas Baptist University and quickly advanced to the second round with a 6-1, 6-2 win. Her second match came against Calia Respaut, the 3rd seeded player in the bracket from Seminole State. Dashutina and Respaut went back and forth through the first set and the Trojans Respaut narrowly came out ahead 7-6 in a tiebreak. In the second set, Dashutina again played the eventual tournament champion close but fell 6-3 to end her tournament in 5th place. On the other side of the bracket, Benincasa dropped her first match to Faiga Schmidt of Southwest Baptist 6-2, 7-5 but then came back in the consolation bracket to win her first match there 8-2 over Elly Johnson of Friends University. She then moved on to the second round where she received a bye which set up a match against Karla Martinez of New Mexico Military in the semis. Benincasa and Martinez played a close match, going back and forth to the end but Martinez would just edge out Benincasa at the end as she came away with an 8-6 victory.

Marcela Abrantes was the Lady Saints representative in #4 singles play and would drop her first match of the day 6-4, 6-1 to Melissa Reynolds of Oklahoma Wesleyan in the first round. She wouldn’t let it get her down though as she fought back in the consolation bracket to reach the final after an 8-3 win over Allison Gerber of Newman University in the first round and then an 8-4 decision over Diana Barns of Oklahoma Baptist in the semis. In the finals she would be pitted against Alyssa Hawkins of New Mexico Military and would play maybe the best match of the day as it took 5 tie break sets to determine it before Hawkins came out the victor 9-8 (2) to win the championship.

In #5 singles it was Lindy Kowalchuk that drew the call and she would play a drawn out first round match against Jessica Evans of Cowley that she would come out on top of 7-6, 3-6, 6-1 to advance to the round of eight. In the second round Kowalchuk squared off with 2nd seeded Samantha Haight of North Central Texas and Haight was dominate, winning 6-0, 6-0 to put Kowalchuk 5th for the tournament.

Seward’s #3 player Kauana Goncalves played the OKC Open in the #2 singles bracket and after falling 6-0, 6-1 to Elise Burnett-Godfree, turned things around with a 3rd place finish in the consolation bracket after a loss to 3rd seeded Hannah Innes in the semis 8-5.

Caitlin Workman, another Lady Saint playing in her first collegiate action of her career finished 5th in the #6 singles bracket after picking up an upset victory over 3rd seeded Amber Evans of Collin County before falling to Anna Le of Newman University in the quarters 6-1, 6-1.

In #3 singles play, Salitza Abrantes represented the Lady Saints and went up against a tough draw, as she was matched with 2nd seeded Natalie Friend from Abilene Christian in the first round where she lost 6-0, 6-0 and then against Mariana Rosa of Oklahoma Baptist in the first round of the consolation bracket where she lost 8-1 to end her day.

In doubles play, the Lady Saints top two players in Dashutina and Benincasa teamed up to make what should be expected to be one of the top doubles teams in the country this season. The pair took care of Zinnia Leamana and Kelsey Rebin of Collin County 8-4 and upset the 3rd seeded team in the bracket Hannah Kelley and Cassie Carver of Abilene Christian 8-6 to move to the semifinals. In the semis the two ran up against Lilian Fereirra and Paola Costa who were open entrants into the tournament and fell 8-4 to end their tournament in 3rd place.

In #2 doubles action Abrantes and Goncalves paired to take on Micah Hermsdorf and Madelyn Walker of Abilene Christian University where they fell 8-2 to send them to the consolation bracket. In the consolation bracket however, the duo put on a show, defeating Katie Metcalf and Amber Owens of Collin County in the first round 8-5 and then receiving a bye to get to the round of four. In the semis they found themselves across the net from Emily Jones and Ashley Dunham and dropped the pair from Newman University 8-5 to march on to the title match. In the championship match they went up against Alyssa Hawkins and Adalyn Hazelman of New Mexico Military who had won their previous three matches 8-0, 8-0, and 8-0 to reach the finals. The Seward County duo of Abrantes and Goncalves weren’t about to let that happen to them though as they raced out to an early lead before closing the door 8-6 to win the championship.

The feel good story of the day came in the #3 doubles bracket for Seward County as Kowalchuk and Abrantes paired on the bottom half of the bracket and Workman teamed up with Erica Pope of Seminole State to form a team on the top half of the draw. Workman and Pope got together as a result of both Seward and Seminole having an odd number of players at the tournament and therefore didn’t have their normal doubles partner there to play with them. Never having played together the pair played extremely well as they lost a nail biter in the first round to Katie Klausmey and Anna Le of Newman University 8-6 and then fell 8-1 against the 4th seeded team of Jess Cossari and Monica Lunardi of North Central Texas in the first round of the consolation bracket in their final match. Kowalchuk and Abrantes played one of the closest matches of the day in their first round matchup with Selby Cornejo and Jessica Evans of Cowley as the teams went back and forth for 17 sets before the Tiger pair of Evans and Cornejo eventually came out the victors of a 9-8 decision. In the consolation bracket Kowalchuk and Abrantes were given a win in the first round over 2nd seeded Collin County when Regan Perme and Fernanada Estrauzalus were stopped from continuing with an injury and then got the second round off with a bye to move to the semis. In the semifinal round the Lady Saints went up against 3rd seeded Samantha Dunn and Bailey Martinez of New Mexico Military and found themselves on the wrong end of an 8-3 score to finish them in 3rd place in the consolation bracket.
It was just one of those matches you don’t like the feel for as soon as you got to the gym. A young Seward County team, possibly a little overconfident after a 3-0 start in conference play and a proud Barton squad that could not afford to drop their third straight conference match after early season losses to Dodge City and Hutchinson. The Cougars would jump out to a big early lead in game one against the Lady Saints and would also take a big lead in game four to close out Seward and drop them to 9-3 overall on the year and 3-1 in conference play.
A rowdy crowd was on hand to watch as the 18th ranked Lady Saints took the floor against their Barton Lady Cougars in Great Bend Wednesday and the Cougs were set to impress from the opening whistle. A flurry of potent attacks flew Seward’s way early as Barton was in desperate measures looking to stay away from an 0-3 start in Jayhawk West action. Early on the momentum was completely with the Cougars as they got out to an 10-2 lead before the Lady Saints could catch their breath. Once Seward dug in, they battled themselves back into the game by scoring 6 straight points to cut the lead to 11-8 and then after a quick side out when their streak was stopped, they scored 4 more in a row capped by a kill from Courtney Geesing and an ace from Maddy Taylor to knot things at 12. Seward would keep the pressure on Barton and would finish off their second 6 point run of the game to go ahead 14-12 but the Cougars would take advantage of sloppy Seward passing to retake the lead 18-16 moments later. The battle continued as Aislyn Karney tied the game at 18 with a well placed shot to the back line but Barton would get the next 3 points and go up 21-18 late. The teams would play even through the next 8 points but it wasn’t enough for the Lady Saints as they fell 25-22 to an ecstatic Barton club in game one.
The Lady Saints started game two much better as a handful of big blocks had them leading 6-4 in the early going. However, four straight errors for Seward would push the advantage back to the Barton sideline at 8-6 and the Lady Saints would never see the lead in the game again. After battling closer midway through the game, another set of balls out of bounds would push the Cougar lead to 17-13. The spread stayed the same at 20-16 as the two traded points but Barton would score 5 of the next 6 points to put away game two 25-17.
Things were looking like there was going to be a sweep in the Cougar Den as game three started and the Lady Saints quickly found themselves behind 4-1, but with their leading server Madison Winkelman on the backline, the Lady Saints picked up 2 straight aces to cut the lead to 4-3 and after a point from Barton, would score 4 straight to take a 7-5 lead. They would push their lead to the largest they had had on the night to that point at 13-9 with a kill from Stacie Carver but Barton would slice it in half as the teams played through the middle of the game and Seward led 16-14. The Lady Saints fought hard to push the lead back to 4 at 22-18 and took some of the wind out of the Barton sails by closing out game three 25-20 to make it 2-1 in favor of the Cougars.
Unfortunately for the Lady Saints they couldn’t take their game three momentum into game four as it looked eerily reminiscent of game one as they fell behind 8-2 right off the bat. They would get back within striking distance down 4 at 10-6 but a service error long would make it 11-6 in favor of the Cougars. Seward would score 3 of the next 4 points in the match including one on a big solo block from Geesing to cut the lead to 12-9 but Barton would score the next three after that to stretch their advantage out to 15-9. The Lady Saints couldn’t stop the bleeding as their error totals mounted and they found themselves down 19-11 and then 23-14 with the match on the line. With their backs to the wall and with the fight looking like it had been taken out of them, Seward mounted a furious rally to get close. Two straight blocks started the action and cut it to 23-16. The Lady Saints then picked up a couple of aces and a pair of hammered attacks to make it 23-20. The Lady Saints weren’t done, they took advantage of a Barton club on their heels and passing poor to pick up 2 more points and cut the deficit to 1 at 23-22 after 8 straight points. The teams would trade points to 24-23 and in front of a noisy home crowd, the Cougars would finish off the upset as they knocked the Lady Saints off 25-23.
Sheina Fernandes had a team high 14 kills in the match while Daiane Souza returned from injury and finished with an even dozen. Geesing also returned to the Seward lineup after missing both matches last week to record her 5th double-double of the season with 10 kills and 14 digs. Taylor had a team high 21 assists and also picked up 9 digs while Winkelman had her 3rd straight 20+dig match with 23 while also leading the club in aces with 4. Karney continued to be a force at the net for Seward, recording 7 solo blocks and 3 assisted blocks to pick up her first double digit performance in that category in her brief Seward career. Carver topped her career high in kills for the second straight match with 9 and Katie Marks also set a career high with 9 digs.
The loss drops the Lady Saints to 9-3 overall on the season and 3-1 in Jayhawk West Conference play. The only good news for Seward on the night was that Hutchinson lost in straight sets to Pratt at home and therefore the Lady Saints still remain on top of the conference standings, although with a little more company, tied with their next conference opponent Dodge City as well as the Lady Beavers of Pratt. Seward will now get a much needed rest from competition as they have the next week off before returning to the court Thursday in Torrington, Wyoming against Dodge City at 1:00. The match with Dodge is a Jayhawk West Conference match and then the two will complete their play in the Wyo-Braska Tournament in Torrington and Scottsbluff Thursday and Friday.
It might not have been the typical pregame routine for a top 20 ranked squad but last Saturday at Cottonwood Intermediate School, it was the only place that the Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball Team wanted to be. The Lady Saints took time out of their Saturday morning to work with 4 and 5 year olds on their volleyball skills. The Seward players taught the youngsters how to pass, set, and serve during their time with them.
The group of 20 that they started working with at the beginning of their time slot was shy and not sure that they really wanted to be doing this sport with the ball that was half as big as them. But, after a few encouraging words and a high five or two, the aspiring volleyballers were all smiles and having a great time. When asked if she was having fun, one girl said “Ya, I am going to go home and practice on the wall in my room so I can get good like them.” However, it wasn’t just the little ones having fun. “I had a lot of fun this morning” said Lady Saint Courtney Geesing. “They kind of remind me of myself when I was that age” she said of two young girls she worked with the majority of the morning.

When their time together was coming to a close, the Lady Saints made sure to pass out a schedule poster to each one of their protégés and then took time to have the girls bring them around to each of them and have them sign the posters. “It is always fun to do things like this” said All-Conference middle hitter Sheina Fernandes. “You can just see the happiness in their eyes that they get from spending just one hour with us” she continued.

The Lady Saints later went on to beat Garden City that day to move to 9-2 on the season and remain perfect at 3-0 in Jayhawk West Conference play. Their next action will come on Wednesday in a battle on the road against the Barton County Cougars in Great Bend. Twitter and score updates will be available throughout the match by checking out the Lady Saints website at

If anyone in the Greenhouse Saturday afternoon told you that they thought the Jayhawk West Conference Volleyball Match between conference leading Seward County and last place Garden City was going to go any differently than it did, they were probably lying to you. The Lady Saints dispatched of the visiting ‘Busters in a just over an hour to move to 9-2 on the season and 3-0 in conference play while Garden City fell to 0-8 on the year and 0-3 in conference action.
In game one Seward cruised to a 25-13 win despite a subpar performance from their offense. The Lady Saints hit just .244 in the game and had 4 hitting errors. In game two the Lady Saints would get all they could take from the winless ‘Busters as they played neck and neck, even trailing at one point, before rising to the occasion in the end to come away with the 25-18 win. Looking for the sweep in game three, the Lady Saints again struggled to execute offensively, hitting .265 with 5 errors, but still managed to come away with a 25-15 win to wrap up the match.
Sheina Fernandes posted her 5th straight double digit kill effort for Seward, banging 11 balls to the floor in the win. Stacie Carver had a big match for the Lady Saints in the win, recording a career high 8 kills to go along with 5 digs and a block while Shelly Malouff finished with 7 kills, 14 assists, and 7 digs in the victory. Aislyn Karney once again proved to be a force at the net, recording 6 solo blocks to lead the team while Madison Winkelman posted her second straight 20+ dig performance with 24 against the Busters.
Head Coach Bert Luallen was less than impressed with his team’s performance on Saturday saying “we have to play more consistent if we want to be there in the end. We can’t play up and down to the level of our competition. We need to play our game every time we hit the court or it is going to come back and bite us like it has the past two seasons.” One of the numbers that popped out of the stat sheet the most to Luallen was the number of errors the Lady Saints committed. “The number of errors have to go down as we go along this season. That has been one thing that has been a direct correlation of our successes and failures so far this year. Today we gave away 24 points on hitting, ball handling, service, blocking, and reception errors and they only scored a total of 46 points in the match; that’s 52% of their points” he exclaimed. “I understand that some kids are playing positions that they aren’t completely used to and that we as a team played without a couple of our best all-around players but again we have to go out there and limit the mistakes and put the pressure on our opponents night in and night out” he finished his conversation by saying.
The win moves Seward to 3-0 and alone into 1st place in the conference standings and to 9-2 overall on the year. The ‘Busters fall to 0-3 in conference and 0-8 overall while their winless game streak hits 24 on the season. Next up for the Lady Saints is Barton on Wednesday in Great Bend in a match that will be better on the court than it is on paper. While Seward is 3-0 and Barton 0-2 in the early going of conference play, the Cougars have lost to the two teams on the Lady Saints tails in Dodge City and Hutchinson while 2 of Seward’s 3 wins have come against the bottom dwellers in the conference. Check the Lady Saints Twitter feed on for periodical posts on the happenings in Great Bend or follow the score live HERE.
When you are playing without 2 of your top 3 hitters and a number of other players on your team are battling through nagging injuries you can rarely play better than the Seward County Lady Saints did Wednesday night in the Greenhouse. They showed their depth and why they are the 18th ranked team in the country by swiftly defeating Cloud County in three games 25-12, 25-20, 25-15 in just over an hour and 15 minutes of work to move to 2-0 in Jayhawk West Conference play.
Seward set the tone from the outset by picking up three straight early blocks to go up 9-2 and deflate a T-Bird squad looking to pull off the road upset after the long trip from Concordia. Cloud would get to within 5 at 11-6 after a couple of blocks of their own but that was as close as they would get as the Lady Saints would score 7 of the games next 8 points to go up 18-7. Sheina Fernandes would find the end line with a quick set from Maddy Taylor later on and put Seward up 23-11 before eventually going on to win game one 25-12 behind Isabela Silva’s 4th kill of the game.
The Lady Saints again got out to a good start in game two as they were up 5-1 but after Cloud picked up a side out and Seward was in the net on back to back plays, the teams were separated by only one at 5-4. The gals in green would score the next 3 points including an ace from Shelly Malouff that would spur a T-Bird time out but Cloud would regroup out of the break and play even with Seward through the next 8 points as the score remained close at 12-9. A pesky T-Bird squad wouldn’t roll over to the defending conference champs and had the Seward lead down to 1 at 19-18 late in game number two. With the score 22-20 in favor of the Lady Saints, Cloud was called in the net on a block attempt to make it 23-20 Seward and they would take full advantage of it, scoring the next two points on a kill from Silva and a block from Stacie Carver and Fernandes to seal it and give themselves a 25-20 win.
Cloud again looked like they were ready to give the Lady Saints a battle in game three as the two teams played even through the first 14 points of the game. Seward would later give themselves a little bit of distance with another kill from Fernandes to put them up 12-9 and would roll along to score 7 of the next 8 points to take a 19-10 advantage as they looked to close out the match. The midgame push came in large part to Jordan Martin who finished with 6 assists and an ace in the game as well as Silva who would pick up 6 game three kills in 8 chances. Aislyn Karney would put the Lady Saints ahead 21-12 moments later and sophomore Maddy Taylor would finish the T-Birds off with a dump to the hole in the middle of the Cloud defense as Seward went on to complete the sweep with a 25-15 win.
Silva would finish the match with a career high 14 kills while fellow Brazilian Fernandes continued her strong season with 12 kills and 3 aces in the win. As a team the Lady Saints would hit .563 in the match, notching 47 kills and just 2 errors on the night. Karney was again the Lady Saints top blocker with 4 to go along with 8 kills in 11 tries and Madison Winkelman had a huge match on defense for Seward with 21 digs in the 3 game win. Taylor led the Lady Saints with 21 assists and is now into the school’s all-time top 10 in the category with 880.
Seward will have two days off before returning to the court Saturday afternoon at 2:00 as the winless Garden City Broncbusters come to town. Saturday will be Stacie Carver poster night so make sure to grab your autographed poster of Stacie as you come in to the match. We will also again be collecting children’s toys for the KJCCC Toys for Tots program with a collection box inside the main gym entrance.
Seward County freshman outside hitter was named the Jayhawk Conference Player of the Week today for leading the Lady Saints to a 4-1 record in 5 matches last week and averaging nearly 3 kills and 3 digs per game in the process. Geesing becomes the second straight Lady Saint to win the award as fellow hitter Sheina Fernandes took home the award during the first week of the 2010 regular season. Geesing’s week started with a 10 kill, 15 dig effort for #17 Seward in an upset win over 14th ranked Pratt in the Greenhouse Wednesday evening.
She was right back at it with back to back double-doubles on Friday when she had 13 kills and 15 digs in a win over Paris JC followed by a 10 kill, 11 dig night against Redlands. On Saturday morning while getting her first taste of the Seward/Hutchinson rivalry, Geesing recorded 12 kills and just 1 error in a Lady Saints win and continued her hot play with her 5th straight double digit kill performance of the week with 11 and 7 digs in a win over Hill College. Geesing is currently in the top 3 on the team in kills (70), digs (73), and passing percentage (.963). Geesing and her Lady Saints will have to hold their celebration as they are right back to work tonight in the Greenhouse as Cloud County makes the long trip to Liberal for a Jayhawk West Conference tilt at 6:30.
The Seward County Lady Saints moved to 7-2 on the season this weekend as they picked up 3 wins in the always tough Redlands Labor Day Classic Tournament. Seward knocked off Paris and Hill College from Texas as well as picking up a straight sets win over rival Hutchinson on Saturday morning. Their lone blemish of the two day tournament came Friday night when they fell to the home team, Redlands, in a tight four set match.
Seward started the tournament with a 5 set thriller against Paris JC. After dropping the first set 25-22 to the Dragons, the Lady Saints stormed back to take the 2nd and 3rd games 25-18 and 25-23 respectively to take a 2-1 lead. Trying to finish it out in game 4, the Lady Saints stumbled and fell 25-17 but regained the momentum in the deciding 5th game to pick up their 5th win of the season with a 15-11 victory. The loss for Paris was their first of the season and remains their only on the year as they sit 8-1 on the year. The Lady Saints were led by Courtney Geesing who banged home 13 kills and had 15 digs for her second straight double-double. Sheina Fernandes had 9 kills in the match and Daiane Souza found the hardwood 8 times to go along with her 15 digs in the win. Madison Winkelman led the defensive side of the ball for Seward as she finished with 14 digs as well as 17 perfect service passes. At the net Aislyn Karney again solidified the Lady Saints block as she added to her team lead with 4 solo blocks in the contest.
The Lady Saints nightcap pitted them against the host team Redlands. Seward would get out to a good start as they rode a hot hitting offense to come away with a 25-21 game one win. Looking to move up 2-0 in the match, the Lady Saints recorded 8 hitting errors and fell by 3, 25-22 to even up the match at 1 apiece. Seward bounced back in game three on the offensive side of things, hitting .419 with just 1 error, but the Cougars were even better, taking a 2-1 lead with a 25-23 victory as things went to game four. Redlands was ready to call it a night as they polished off the Lady Saints 25-21 for the upset win in front of their home crowd and dropped Seward to 5-2 on the year. The Lady Saints didn’t help themselves in the loss, as they were called for 12 net violations, had 17 hitting errors, 3 service errors, and 2 ball handling errors for a total of 34 free points for the Cougs in the defeat. Fernandes was one of the lone bright spots for the Seward attack, netting 18 kills and just 2 errors while Souza and Geesing also reached double digits with 13 and 10 respectively. Souza also recorded 5 aces to lead the team while Winkelman posted 21 digs and Maddy Taylor connected on 24 set attempts.
Saturday morning the Lady Saints would square off in a match with their rivals, the Hutchinson Lady Blue Dragons. However, the battle looked nothing like heated Seward/Hutch meetings in the past as the Lady Saints breezed their way to a 3-0 win with 25-19 scored in both of the first two games and then a tough 29-27 win in game three to secure the victory. The win for Seward was its second over Hutchinson in their last three meetings after failing to slay the Dragons in 18 previous encounters. Fernandes and Geesing again were the go to gals for the green and white as Fernandes finished with 14 kills and just 2 errors in 21 attacks while Geesing notched 12 kills and 1 error in 27 tries. Taylor and fellow setter Shelly Malouff connected on 37 of 73 set attempts while Winkelman led the Lady Saints in digs yet again with 11 in the match. Karney recorded her season high in blocks with 6 as the Lady Saints combined for 14 stuffs in the victory.
The Lady Saints final test of the holiday weekend was the Hill College Rebels, a team that they had upset one year earlier in the same tournament as they were ranked in the top 25. Hill would draw first blood with a 25-21 game one win but the Lady Saints would battle back in game two to knot things back up with a 25-23 win. Neither team was ready to give ground in game three but Seward would outlast the Rebs 26-24 before taking game four 25-23 to seal their 7th win on the year. Fernandes was unstoppable in the match as she recorded 16 kills without an error as well as netting 2 aces and 3 solo blocks in the win. Isabela Silva was also on top of her game against Hill, recording 9 kills on 21 chances without an error and also picking up 4 blocks, 3 solo in the match. Geesing and Souza found their way into the double digit kill category as usual with 11 and 10 respectively while Winkelman and Malouff would combine for 26 digs in the four game win. Karney posted 6 blocks for the second straight match as she notched 5 solo’s and 1 assisted block and Stacie Carver had 2 solo blocks in the match to lead a Seward squad that recorded a season high 17 blocks.
It was the date that the Seward County Lady Saint sophomore had been waiting for since their disappointing end of their 2009 campaign. Watching the Pratt Beavers celebrate their win over them in the Region VI Tournament quarterfinals, the Lady Saints took a stand to get revenge and they got the first step of that Wednesday night in the Greenhouse as they brushed off an error filled first game to come back and win the next three handily to take down the country’s 14th ranked team and move to 4-1 on the season.

The Beavers would score first in the match of top 20 teams, but the Lady Saints would get the next four points and go up 4-1 as the match started. Pratt would get to within one at 9-8 later on but Daiane Souza finished off a three point Seward swing soon afterwards with a smash to the corner to make it 12-9 Lady Saints. The teams would trade points to 16-13 after a kill from Courtney Geesing but the Beavers would score the next nine points of the game with the Seward on their heels and took a 22-16 lead late looking to take game one. Pratt would reach game point at 24-18, but the Lady Saints weren’t going to roll over just yet and tightened the score to 24-22 after four straight points. The comeback was not to be however as a service error sealed the Lady Saints fate as they fell in game one 25-22.

Seward got off to a hot start in game two as they led 7-2 early. Pratt would inch closer thanks to a string of unforced Seward mistakes and the Lady Saints would lead by just two, 10-8 when Aislyn Karney found a hole in the defense to make it 11-8 Seward. Pratt would tie it up at 11 a short time later but back to back tips from Maddy Taylor and Sheina Fernandes would put Seward back on top 13-11. The pesky Beavers kept chipping away at the lead and again tied the game at 14 with a kill from Natali Jones. That’s when the Lady Saints decided to put it in overdrive, scoring seven straight points to take an 21-14 lead and after the teams traded service errors, the score was 22-15 in favor of the gals in green. With game point on the line for Seward up 24-15, Isabela Silva connected with Geesing to put the game away as the Lady Saints came out with a 25-15 win to tie the match at 1 game apiece.

The Lady Saints again started well in game three as they took a 5-1 lead on three aces early and then stretched the lead to 9-1 with a kill from Silva on the right side. The lead would reach 10 on a kill from Souza but the Beavers would slowly work themselves back into the game at 18-12 and put themselves within striking distance. The teams would go back and forth when Stacie Carver combined with Aislyn Karney on a block to put Seward up 21-14 and Fernandes would finish the Beavs off moments later with a shot to the backline to give the Lady Saints the 25-16 game three win.

Pratt would come out strong in game four as they looked to fight off elimination and took an 8-7 lead before Souza split the Beaver block to tie the game at 8. Pratt would quickly side out and take a 9-8 but wouldn’t want to remember what happened after they took that lead. Madison Winkelman would step to the service line with her team tied at 9 and wouldn’t leave until her team was up 20-9. The Beaver defense couldn’t figure out the Seward libero’s serve and that combined with a scrappy defense on the Lady Saints side of the floor would spell doom for Pratt as Seward rolled off 11 points in a row to bury the visitors and end all hopes of a comeback. Jordan Martin would come in late and pick up an assist on her first play to send the match to match point at 24-13 and Seward would quickly finish things off with a kill on the outside to wrap things up with a 25-13 win.

Seward struggled as a team with their attack in the first two games, combining to hit just .130 but came on strong late to notch a .352 mark in the final two games. Leading the Lady Saints once again in kills was Sheina Fernandes who had 12 on 24 chances while Daiane Souza recorded 7 and Courtney Geesing 6 in the win. Maddy Taylor came up big at the setter position for Seward, recording 23 assists and 10 digs in her 4th double-double of her Lady Saints career. Taylor was one of three Lady Saints to find their way into the double digit digs category as Geesing finished with a team high 15 and Madison Winkelman with 11 in the match. Aislyn Karney came up big again at the net for Seward with 5 blocks while Souza finished with 4, and Fernandes 3 in the victory.

The 17th ranked Lady Saints move to 4-1 on the season but more importantly get out to a 1-0 start in Jayhawk West Conference play as they look to defend their crown. They will next hit the hardwood Friday in El Reno, Oklahoma at the Redlands Labor Day Classic where they will see Paris JC at 1:00 followed by Redlands that night at 5:00 and Hutchinson at 10:00 Saturday and wrap things up with Hill College at 2:00 Saturday. Seward will return home on Wednesday at 6:30 when they will renew acquaintances with Cloud County who rejoins the Division 1 ranked in the Jayhawk after taking two years off to play at the Division 2 level.