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.