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 didnít 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 soloís 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.