When the NJCAA Top 25 Poll came out three weeks ago the Seward County Lady Saints searched and searched but didn't find their name anywhere. What they did find was a number of teams on their early season scheduled that the experts picked to have big seasons. Seward proved Friday that the experts might just want to take a peak their way before writing off the Green and White in the next poll to come out.
A pair of Texan's helped the Lady Saints knock off two top 25 foes from the Lonestar State as LaKendra Sanders and Lindsey Miller combined for 43 kills and 14 blocks on the day. In their first match of the day Seward matched up with a very athletic Tyler JC team who was ranked 22nd in the country coming in to this weekend’s Redlands Cougar Classic. The Lady Saints wasted no time in promptly pounding the Apaches into the ground early in game one winning 25-9 and shocking the crowd in El Reno. In game two it didn't get a whole lot better for Tyler as Seward put it to them again with a 25-14 victory. Looking for the sweep in game three Seward had the clamps put on their offense late as Tyler battled back to win the third set 25-23 and force another set. Seward looked refocused in the 4th set bolting out to a lead and running away with it late to win 25-14 to secure the match win. In the contest Sanders hammered 14 balls to the floor while Miller finished second on the team with 10 kills. Diana Castrillon had 9 kills on 21 attacks to go along with her 7 aces and Sheina Fernandes finished off 7 on 13 tries to compliment her 3 aces. Maddy Taylor and Taryn Westerman did a nice job of putting the ball on the spot of their hitters from the setter position, connecting for 33 assists on 73 attempts. Amanda Savage led the team in digs for the 3rd straight game with 12 while Castrillon was right on her heels with 11.
In the nightcap of the Lady Saints big day they were opposed by 23rd ranked Hill College. After trading points early in the first set Seward took an advantage midway through and never looked back, eventually winning 25-18. Hill put up a fight in game number two but the Lady Saints were again able to come out ahead with a couple of key late blocks to take it home 25-21. Seward nearly had more hitting errors than kills in the 3rd set and luckily still had a shot to sweep late but fell 25-20 to set up a 4th set in the match. They wouldn’t let this one get close as they blew the Lady Rebs out early and never allowed them to catch up winning 25-14 to complete their 2 match sweep for the day. Sanders again led the Lady Saints offensive attack with 12 kills to go along with a career high 9 blocks. Miller, Castrillon, and Fernandes all put up a touchdown and an extra point in the kills category with 7, mostly in part to 21 assists from Maddy Taylor. Savage, Castrillon, and Miller all recorded double digit digs in the match as the Lady Saints libero led with 15 while Castrillon had 13 and Miller 10. While there were some positives, Head Coach Bert Luallen was a little bit worried about his team’s .078 hitting percentage through the first three sets as well as 39 errors to give Hill exactly half of their points in the match. The wins moved Seward to 8-1 on the season and gave them their first back to back wins against ranked opponents in recent memory.