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After piling up the awards as a freshman in 2009, it didn’t take long for Seward County Lady Saints sophomore middle hitter Sheina Fernandes to add to the list in 2010 as she was named the first ever Verizon Wireless KJCCC Player of the Week for her performances Friday and Saturday at the Lamar Kick Off Classic. She was a unanimous selection among the four voters.
Fernandes won the conference player of the week award more than any other player last season, garnering the distinction 3 times in 2009 and took home the inaugural award in 2010 thanks to a weekend in which she led Seward to a 3-1 record and averaged nearly 3 kills per game. She hit .462 overall on the weekend, leading the team in that category as well as her 2.93 kills per game. She led the Lady Saints to wins over Trinidad State, Chandler-Gilbert, and Vernon on the weekend with 6, 13, and 14 kills respectively as well as chalking up 10 blocks in the 3 matches.
Fernandes and her Lady Saints will look to keep up their solid play as they face a tough early season test Wednesday night in the Greenhouse when they take on 14th ranked Pratt to open up Jayhawk West Conference play at 6:30.
With just 3 sophomores back from their 2009 Jayhawk West Conference Championship team, the Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball squad knew it was going to be tough to repeat this season with a number of teams looking to take their crown. However, if the first weekend of regular season play showed what is to come, the Lady Saints are going to wear the bulls eye proudly and take on any challengers that stand in their way.


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Seward opened up the year , as they did last year, against the Trinidad State Trojans. The Lady Saints played well against the overmatched Trinidad squad in game one as they scored on their first change of the 2010 campaign with a blast down the line off the hand of Daiane Souza. A big front line, coupled with a smaller Trinidad team, caused problems for the Trojans and before they could stop the bleeding in game one it was 11-4 Lady Saints. Seward would keep up the pressure as they extended their lead to 16-7 with a kill from Sheina Fernandes, and then made a push at the end to win 25-11 on a connection from Shelly Malouff to Jade Greene. Game two wouldn’t go so smoothly for the gals in green as they fell behind early 9-7 before coming back to tie the game at 11 midway through. The game was still knotted at 14 when Souza stepped back to the service line and ripped off 3 straight points, including a pair of aces to put the Lady Saints up 17-14. They wouldn’t relinquish the lead and Madison Winkelman would ace the Trojans again to cap off the 25-21 win in game two. Reaching deep into his bench for game three, Head Coach Bert Luallen made sure that everyone got into the opening match of the season and with new starters in hand, the Lady Saints fell behind early again 5-4. Jade Greene would even the game up at 8 with a solo block on the right side and would swing the momentum to Seward as they would run off 15 of the next 18 points to take a 23-11 advantage and crush all hopes of a Trinidad comeback. The teams would trade points to finish the match but the Lady Saints would reach 25 with just a 13 on the scoreboard for the Trojans as they finished off the sweep to pick up their first victory of the season. Winkelman would pull up 26 digs and record 5 aces in the match against Trinidad for Seward and Malouff put up 12 assists and 10 digs to notch a double-double in her first college match. Souza would lead the team in kills with 9 on 16 chances in the opener while Fernandes had yet another solid outing, hitting .545 with 6 kills and 5 blocks leading Seward to the win.

TRINIDAD STATE BOX SCORE

In their second matchup of the day the Lady Saints would take on Chandler-Gilbert CC from Arizona. After getting up early in game one 7-3 thanks to a Fernandes ace and then 10-6 with a kill from Courtney Geesing, the Coyotes of CG would battle back to tie the game at 15 midway through. With the game tied at 15, the Lady Saints would go on a 3-0 run to take an 18-15 advantage and wouldn’t look back from there, going on to take a 24-19 lead before giving the ‘Yotes some hope and then slamming the door with a kill from Fernandes 25-22. In game two the teams played even through the first 14 points and were tied 7-7. The Lady Saints would then score the next 3 points to take a 10-7 lead but Chandler-Gilbert would fight back and take their first lead of the match at 12-11 and then give themselves some distance thanks to Seward errors as they led 16-12. The Lady Saints wouldn’t get much closer as CG kept their distance and finally held off Seward 25-20 as service error #6 would give the Coyotes game number two. For the second straight game, after 14 points the two teams were again deadlocked at 7 in game three. After going up 10-7, Souza would get her swing going and give the Lady Saints three straight kills to go up 13-7 and the momentum would keep rolling. After finally breaking a 9-0 Seward run, Chandler-Gilbert would get the ball back but not for long as the Lady Saints immediately got a side out and kept on the pressure until they finally put CG out of their misery in game three with a 25-10 win, capping an 18-3 run to end the game. After taking a 2-1 lead in such dominating fashion you might have got the feeling that Chandler-Gilbert was going to roll over to the nations 17th ranked squad, but to the contrary they came out scrapping in game four as they looked to hold off elimination. The Coyotes took a 8-5 lead early on and it wasn’t until 18-17 that the Lady Saints would have the lead in the game. Up 21-19 in what could be the clincher for Seward, the Lady Saints finished strong with a 4-1 run to finish off the game 25-20 and end the match at 3-1 in favor of the gals in green. Souza and Fernandes would lead the offensive attack for Seward in the match, combining for 24 kills and 8 aces in the win. Winkelman continued her strong play on the backline for the Lady Saints, by following up her 26 dig performance with one of 17 to average over 6 per game on the day. Aislyn Karney led the team with 3 blocks in the match, including 2 solo while setters Maddy Taylor and Shelly Malouff connected on 36 of 88 attempts to post a .410 combined percentage in the contest.

CHANDLER-GILBERT BOX SCORE

Saturday morning was the match that everyone had circled on their calendar since the tournament schedule came out two weeks ago as it pitted the #17 Lady Saints against the #21 Laramie County Golden Eagles. After beating Laramie twice last season at the Kick-Off Classic, Seward had some confidence in their back pocket but a hungry and bigger Golden Eagle squad had revenge on their mind and that is what they got. Led by 6’5 Maria Voitenko, Laramie got out to a hot start and opened an 8-3 lead to start the game. After a number of failed pass attempts and miscommunications in the back row for Seward, the Eagles led 16-4 after the game’s first 20 points. The teams would trade points to 22-9 but it wasn’t enough for Seward to get back into the game as they fell 25-13. Back on their heels as game two started, the Lady Saints would again find themselves in a hole that they wouldn’t be able to dig themselves out of. Laramie led 10-4 early and then opened up a 20-10 advantage before finishing Seward off 25-13 for the second straight game. A young Seward team wouldn’t give up however and took an early lead in game three and then stretched it to 12-7 halfway through the game with a kill from Souza. That lead wouldn’t hold unfortunately and a few minutes later the game was tied at 15 and the Eagles were ready to get things over with. They would scored the next 3 points of the contest and 6 of the next 9 as they went up 21-18 as Seward fought to send the match to a fourth game. The Lady Saints would get to within one as Karney found holes in the Laramie defense on back to back plays to make it 22-21, but they wouldn’t get any closer as an ace by LCCC would finish off the sweep as they took down Seward 25-22 in game three. Seward’s offense was ice cold as a group in the match as they hit just .138 as a team, with the lone bright spot coming from Fernandes who had 8 kills and just 1 error in 17 attempts. Jordan Martin played well at the setter position for Seward after coming in during the second game, recording 6 assists and 3 aces to lead the team.

LARAMIE COUNTY BOX SCORE

In their last match of the tournament, the Lady Saints would lock horns with the Vernon College Chaps who had looked good in their first three matches of the weekend. Unfortunately for them, Seward wanted to make the trip back to the Sunflower State with a winning record and they would do just that with a few unexpected stars taking the reins. Early on the teams went back and forth, trading points as game one was tied at 5. After pulling ahead slightly, the Lady Saints would take a 3 point lead at 9-6 thanks to a nice play all the way around in which Isabela Silva pulled one off of the court to the waiting hands of Shelly Malouff who set Souza, who buried one down the line to stretch the lead. The margin would remain the same until Fernandes used her court vision to tip one to the open spot in the defense and give the gals in green the 15-11 lead. Souza would put Seward up 20-14 and then 24-18 later but Vernon wouldn’t quit easily as they scored 3 before the Lady Saints could close the door to the 25-21 game one win. The Chaps would dominate most of game number two as they were up early 6-2 and then 11-5 before holding a 16-9 advantage midway through. Seward would pull to within 5 with an ace from Fernandes and then slices into the lead even more with back to back kills from Geesing to make it 19-16. After pulling to within 1 at 23-22, the Lady Saints momentum was stopped with a timeout and Vernon would score the game’s final two points to come away with the 25-22 win and tie the match up at 1 apiece. Up 8-5 and looking good in the third game, Seward would fall apart through the middle section of the game and managed just one out of the next eight points as they fell behind 12-6. They would go on a run of their own however and would draw to within striking distance and then went ahead on block followed by two straight Vernon errors to make it 18-16 Seward. The Lady Saints would push their lead to 21-17 on another kill from Geesing and would finish the big comeback with a kill from Malouff on game point to win 25-19. For the third straight game, the Lady Saints would find themselves in a hole early as Vernon lead 11-9 after a miscommunication from Seward. A nice defensive play later on by Winkelman would transition the Lady Saints into a scoring chance that they wouldn’t miss on as they drew to within one at 17-16. A string of good plays would tie the game and give the Lady Saints the lead at 23-20 as they looked to close the match out in game four late. With game point looming, Fernandes used her smarts to find yet another hole in the Chap defense and give the Lady Saint the 25-21, game four victory and the match victory at 3-1. Fernandes would lead the team with 14 kills in the win but not to be forgotten was 12 kills apiece from Souza and Geesing who came up big when the Lady Saints needed them most in game three and four wins. Winkelman finished a stellar first weekend with 9 digs and 29 perfect serve/receive passes in the match and Taylor led the Lady Saints again with 25 assists in the victory.

VERNON BOX SCORE

The 3-1 weekend was a nice prequel for the Lady Saints as they head into Wednesday’s Jayhawk West Conference opener against 14th ranked Pratt in the Greenhouse. The Lady Saint will look for a win against the team that ended their 2009 season before hitting the road again next weekend when they travel to El Reno, Oklahoma for the Redlands Labor Day Classic. The classic schedule will pit Seward against 4-0 Paris JC, host Redlands and Hill JC, as well as rival Hutchinson in their opening match on Saturday.
Lamar has been very kind to the Seward County Lady Saints volleyball team in the past couple of seasons. After all, the gals in green have gone 13-1 there in the past two seasons, picking up back to back Lamar Kick-Off Classic Championships to open up the 2008 and 2009 campaigns. Following Wednesday night’s performance against Oklahoma Panhandle State University in the Lady Saints final pre-season scrimmage of the year, the foes that stand in front of Seward on Friday and Saturday better be ready for a battle.
After a sub-par at best showing Saturday against OPSU, Lamar, and Otero, the Lady Saints had some work to do in practice this week as they prepared for the opening of the 2010 season Friday in Colorado. Work they did, and came out a different team Wednesday night at home as they hosted the Aggies of OPSU for a scrimmage in front of a large Greenhouse crowd. “We played better in every facet of the game” Head Coach Bert Luallen said. “I had to put my foot down and have a couple of stern talks with a few of our players and tell them that we need them to step up and be at the top of their game every day” he continued. The night was capped by a bullet down the line from Daiane Souza as she finished off a solid match on the outside for Seward. Aislyn Karney and Sheina Fernandes were strong in the middle for the Lady Saints, recording a handful of blocks and finishing off a good number of chances on the offensive end as well. Maddy Taylor, Shelly Malouff, and Jordan Martin all split time at the setter position and each found the hands of their hitters with regularity on the night. Jade Greene and Stacie Carver worked the right side for Seward, providing a number of blocks against OPSU’s top hitters. The Aggies were unable to figure out the jump serve of Isabela Silva as she notched ace after ace on the night. Last, but certainly not least was the back line of the Lady Saints in libero Madison Winkelman and defensive specialist Katie Marks who pulled up a number of balls in spectacular fashion off the floor, leading to easy scoring opportunities for the Seward offense. “After this weekend I wasn’t sure if we were ready to start the season” Luallen said. “After last night I feel a lot better going into Lamar and getting the season started on a positive note” he continued.
The 17th ranked Lady Saints will open their 2010 regular season Friday in Lamar against Trinidad State at 12:00 (MST) and will hit the court again Friday at 4:00 to take on Chandler-Gilbert from Arizona. Their toughest test of the tournament will come Saturday morning when they square off with #21 Laramie County at 10:00 followed by their final game of the weekend at 2:00 against Vernon. Don’t forget to check the Lady Saints homepage at www.scccsaints.com for live score updates and twitter posts throughout the weekend.
Also, just in time for the start of the season, the 2010 Lady Saints Volleyball Media Guide has been released with player profiles, season previews, record books, and more. Don’t forget to give that a look by CLICKING HERE.
Alison Owens rejoins the Lady Saints in 2010-2011, this time on the bench as an assistant coach. Owens played for two seasons for Seward County in 2004-2005 before graduating from SCCC with her Associates of Science. After finishing her playing days as a Lady Saint she transferred to Lubbock Christian University on a volleyball scholarship but left there to pursue her academic career at the University of Kansas. While at KU, Owens played club volleyball and helped the Jayhawks to a 17th place finish at the National Club Volleyball Tournament. Owens received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish and International and Global Studies from KU in December of 2009.
After graduation, Owens returned to the place of one of her study abroad adventures, Mexico, where she taught English for the summer of 2010.

Owens is a native of Moscow, Kansas and was a graduate of Hugoton High School. In the final two years of her prep volleyball career, Owens was chosen to represent Kansas on All-Star teams that played in tournaments in Hawaii and Australia.

After accepting her scholarship to Seward County CC, Owens was part of the Lady Saints team in the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Also during her time at SC, Owens was a member of the student government, a tutor in the academic achievement center, as well as a residence assistant in the student living center.

After graduating from Seward County and making a brief stop at Lubbock Christian University, Owens was on to the University of Kansas where she looked to concentrate on her studies. While at KU, Owens decided to take on study abroad opportunities in Mexico and Spain. She is now trilingual, speaking English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Owens won’t have much time to get comfortable as the Lady Saints are already training for their 2010 season that starts in less than two weeks. Seward opens the season ranked 17th in the NJCAA pre-season poll and has high expectations as they look to defend their 2009 Jayhawk West Conference Championship. They will play a pair of scrimmage dates on Saturday in Goodwell, Oklahoma followed by a home scrimmage against OPSU on Wednesday the 25th, before kicking off their regular season against Trinidad State in the Lamar Kick-Off Classic in Colorado on the 27th and 28th.
In a familiar venue at Lawrence Dumont Stadium in Wichita, seven former Seward County Saints became National Champions Friday night by taking home the 2010 NBC World Series Championship in the tournaments 76th installment. The Bee Jays defeated the Seattle Studs 9-6 in a one game, winner take all championship game, to avenge an earlier loss to the Studs and finish the tournament 7-1. 2008 graduate Tomas Cruz had the ball in his hand with the game on the line with two outs in the bottom of the 9th while fellow ’08 grad David Masters was ready to receive the pitch behind the plate. 2010 NJCAA All-American Kelby Tomlinson had just made yet another spectacular play in short center field to record the 2nd out of the inning while fellow 2010 grads Quay Grant and Jared Wagner, as well as ’09 Saints closer Travis Parker were on their feet in the bullpen. Not to be forgotten was 2007-08 Saint Christian Kowalchuk who was one of the key members of the Bee Jays pitching staff all summer long, but was shut down late in the season due to an arm injury and was unable to pitch in the tournament.

Many dreams had ended in Wichita for these seven young men as in 2008 Tomas Cruz, David Masters, and Christian Kowalchuk’s Seward County careers came to an end on the turf of Lawrence Dumont Stadium. In 2009 Travis Parker’s Saints were shocked at Dumont by Cowley in two straight games to end his one magical season in Liberal. Finally just three short months ago, Kelby Tomlinson, Quay Grant, and Jared Wagner thought that they had seen the last of the historic stadium when their two year ride with the Saints came to a close after an extra inning battle with rival Hutchinson went the way of the Blue Dragons. However, in a magical two week run that culminated with a championship game rematch against the Seattle Studs, those seven Saints had undoubtedly one of the highlights of their baseball careers on the ‘old school’ turf carpet of LD as the final out was secured and nobody else in the amateur baseball world was above them as they were crowned NBC World Champions.

Cruz was THE man in the back end of the bullpen for the Bee Jays since he joined the team late in the season. After posting a 2-0 record with 4 saves and a 0.56 ERA during the regular season, the Saint turned Clemson Tiger threw in 5 of the 8 Bee Jay games in the tournament, picking up 2 wins and a save in 7 2/3 innings of work. Masters played in 6 games in the tournament and drew the call to handle the Liberal staff in the championship game behind the plate on Friday. He posted a .977 fielding percentage behind the plate during the tournament and scored 6 runs while driving in a pair. Tomlinson capped a summer in which he was named Bee Jays MVP by leading all players in the tournament with 12 stolen bases while playing gold glove defense and posting a .395 on base percentage in the eight games. Parker threw just once in the tournament but was a key piece of the Bee Jays lockdown bullpen during the regular season, pitching in 17 games and posting a 2.42 ERA in 26 innings pitched on the season. Grant threw a pair of scoreless innings in the tournament, allowing just 2 hits while striking out a batter. Wagner drew the start for Liberal in their win Sunday against St. Joseph, Missouri and went 4 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and later in the tournament threw a scoreless inning against Seattle in the team’s first matchup of the week. Kowalchuk, while not able to pitch in the tournament, played a large part in the Bee Jays success this summer. The former Saints lefty and then College World Series participant with the University of Arkansas, recorded a 3-2 record for Liberal in 25 innings pitched, striking out 18 and walking just 7 in 6 starts on the year.

The group joins a list of players a mile long that started their big league dreams in Wichita at the NBC Tournament. The list includes current MLB stars such as Albert Pujols, Tim Lincecum, Trevor Hoffman, and Mark Texeira along with legends like Satchel Paige, Dave Winfield, Tony Gwynn, Barry Bonds, and Mark McGwire also spotting the list. Whose name will it be 10 years from now that we look back and remember donning the Bee Jay powder blue and red? It could be one of these seven who will always say that their college career started right here in Liberal as a Saint at Seward County.
Coming off of a Jayhawk West Conference Championship in 2009 and led into the 2010 campaign with the top returning player in the conference, the Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball team has been ranked 17th in the NJCAA Pre-Season Top 25 poll to open the 2010 season.
Seward returns just three players off of last season’s 26-11 team that reached as high as #9 in the polls at one point. However, the Lady Saints have high expectations as all three of those returning sophomores played a significant role on last year’s championship team. Sheina Fernandes returns in the middle after being named Jayhawk West Conference Freshman of the Year in 2009 and should be the early favorite for Conference Player of the Year honors as the season begins. Maddy Taylor stepped ahead of the pack at the setting position late during the 2009 campaign and comes back as one of the top sophomores setters in the league this season. Stacie Carver played in 89 games last season and will be looked upon to provide a strong block on the right side for the Lady Saints this season.
With just the three returners this season, a lot will be expected from the nine newcomers for the Lady Saints in 2010. Head Coach Bert Luallen will hope to get good production out of Brazilian’s Daiane Souza and Isabella Silva as well as all-around talent Courtney Geesing on the outside as they try to fill the footsteps of a pair of departed All-Conference hitters from last year’s squad. Jade Greene and Aislyn Karney come into camp as the only 6 footers on the roster and should give Seward a strong block in the middle to go along with Fernandes. Jordan Martin and Shelly Malouff will compete for playing time at the setter position and will be one of the keys to Seward’s success this year. One of the Lady Saints strengths this season should be at the Libero/Defensive Specialist position where Madison Winkelman and Katie Marks give Seward a strong presence in Bert Luallen’s most stressed facet of the game, back line defense.
The Lady Saints are joined by the Pratt Lady Beavers from the Jayhawk West Conference in the top 25 as they check in at #14 while 10 other teams likely to cross paths with Seward this year are also on the list. The gals in green will take the court for the first time against outside competition August 21st when they will head down to Goodwell, Oklahoma where they will square off with host OPSU and a number of other junior college squads from around the region. Their first contest for keeps will come August 27th in the Lamar Kick-Off Classic where they look to defend their 2009 tournament title starting with Trinidad State at 12:00.