A week after they took home the Lamar Invitational Tournament Title, the Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball Team brought home some more hardware as champions of the Redlands Cougar Classic Tournament.
After knocking off two top 25 teams on the first day of the classic, Seward had an early morning date with the other undefeated team still left in Paris Junior College on Saturday. Seward quickly jumped ahead of the Lady Dragons to the tune of a 5-0 lead but Paris fought back to within 2 at 11-9 midway through the 1st game. LaKendra Sanders 3rd kill of the 1st set put the Lady Saints up 12-9 and spurred a run that culminated in a pair of blocks to break Seward out to an 18-12 lead. Paris again tried to make a game of it but it was too little too late as the Lady Saints came away with the 25-18 first set win. In the second game Seward again came out of the gates strong and took an early 10-5 advantage thanks to a trio of aces from reigning All-American Diana Castrillon. Later in the set Sheina Fernandes wasnít to be outdone as she ran off three aces of her own to help the green and black stake to a 22-12 lead. The Dragons of Paris battled back again late much as they did in the first set but it was again not enough as Lindsey Miller finished off the second set with authority with her 3rd kill of the game to help Seward win 25-17. Trailing 9-6 in the 3rd set as they tried to finish off the sweep, Taryn Westerman stepped to the service line and rattled off 6 straight points for Seward to put them back on top 12-9. Leading by just one late at 18-17, Castrillon pulled out some more of her late game heroics with a big kill to give the Lady Saints a 19-17 lead that they would never relinquish. A quick set from Maddy Taylor to Fernandes on match point was all Seward would need as the Lady Saints Brazilian middle hitter pounded the ball to the floor to give them a 25-20 win to close out Paris. In the win Fernandes led the Lady Saints in kills with 10 while Castrillon collected 8. Stacie Carver had the best game of her young Lady Saint career with 5 kills and Kelen Ricardo was her usual solid self with 4. Miller paced Seward with 14 digs while Amanda Savage recorded 25 successful passes to accompany her 11 digs. With the win Seward was already assured of the tournament title but they still had work to do with instate foe Independence the only thing standing between them and an undefeated record on the weekend.
Saturdayís late match against an overmatched Independence team was good chance for Head Coach Bert Luallen to get some of his normal starters a little bit of rest and get some players who hadnít seen the court a lot this season into a couple games. However, Indy didnít get the message that they were supposed to roll over as they took advantage of sloppy Seward play early to take a nice 9-5 lead. Lindsey Miller dropped an ace in on the unsuspecting Pirates to bring the first set to within one at 12-11 and the Lady Saints would later go on a run capped by an unusual Katie Thomas to Miller set up to put the Lady Saints up by 4 at 21-17. Stacie Carver making the most of her start in the middle of Sewardís attack picked up a solo block on game point to chalk up the game one win for the Lady Saints 25-19. The Seward comeback in game one seemed to have taken the wind of the Pirates sails in the second game as they put up much less of a fight in a 25-10 Lady Saints win. Every Lady Saint active for the match saw time in the third game as Seward again relatively easily pushed 25 on Indy taking the third game 25-16 to complete the sweep and win the match. In the match Diana Castrillon led the Lady Saints with 11 kills while Miller was second on the team with 8 to go along with her 12 digs. LaKendra Sanders and Kelen Ricardo combined for 13 kills without an error between them and the Seward setters hooked up on 27 of 60 attempts in the three games. Amanda Savage was in her usual double digits in the digs column with 13 and Taryn Westerman chalked up a season high 4 aces in the win. The victory pushes the Lady Saints to an impressive 10-1 start heading into conference play Wednesday at home against Garden City at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night will be the first of six Lady Saint poster nights, each of which will highlight a Lady Saint sophomore playing in her last season in the green and white. This Wednesday Taryn Westerman will be the featured Lady Saint, so make sure to pick up your autographed game night poster of Taryn before the match at either of the Greenhouse entrances.
For those of you that wonít be able to attend the match but would like to keep track of your Lady Saints, log onto the Seward County Saints and Lady Saints athletics site at www.scccsaints.com to follow twitter updates or CLICK HERE to follow live score updates throughout the night.