It was a trip to forget for the Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball team as they entered the 2010 Wyo-Braska Shootout 9-3 and ranked 19th in the country and came out 1-5 and clear out of the NJCAA polls. Thursday they won their first game of the day over Dodge but then dropped the next three to fall to the Conqs in a Jayhawk West Conference match in Torrington, Wyoming. They then were on the short end of their next six games, losing to Casper and #3 Western Nebraska to run their losing streak to 4 in a row dating back to last week’s loss at Barton. Their luck wouldn’t change much as they dropped their first match of Friday in 3 games to Northwest College but then picked up a 3 game win over Sheridan to stop the slide. In their finale of the tournament they were beat by the 6th ranked team in the country Western Wyoming in 3 straight games and came home at 10-8.
The Lady Saints kicked things off with a neutral court matchup with Jayhawk Conference leaders Dodge City in Torrington. Seward played well in game one, continuing their recent domination of the Conqs as they won 25-23. In game two the script was flipped as Dodge evened things up with a 25-23 win of their own. The Lady Saints couldn’t stop the Dodge momentum in game three and lost 25-17 after recording 7 hitting errors and 3 service errors. It wouldn’t get much better in game four as the Lady Saints looked to force a game five as the Conqs would take control early and put it on cruise control as they took the match 3-1 behind a 25-18 game four win. Sheina Fernandes finished with 14 kills and 5 blocks in the loss while Aislyn Karney finished with 11 kills for Seward. Courtney Geesing narrowly missed another double double for the Lady Saints as she ended the match with 9 kills and 9 digs while Madison Winkelman gave her best effort on defense with a team high 18 digs and 2 aces. The loss to Dodge was the first for the Lady Saints since Bert Luallen took over as Head Coach.
After a 45 minute drive to Scottsbluff, Nebraska the Lady Saints were ready for their second match of the day, this time against Casper College. Well at least they were supposed to have been ready. A match which included 30 errors and just 38 points scored for the Lady Saints would not be a winning combination. Seward dropped game one to Casper by a big margin of 25-14 and recovered to put up more of a fight in game two but it wasn’t enough as they lost 25-23 to fall behind 2-0. All of their energy must have been used up in the tight game two as they fell by another big margin of 9, 25-16 in game three as they were swept by the T-Birds. No Lady Saint recorded more than Fernandes’ 7 kills in the match while Winkelman was the only player to record 10 or more digs with 11 and Karney was the only Seward front liner to have more than 2 blocks as she ended with 4.
The Lady Saints road would not get any easier, in fact it would get a lot harder as next in front of them was the 3rd ranked Western Nebraska Cougars on their home floor in the Cougar Den. In game one the Lady Saints were able to manage just 7 kills and fell 25-18 while in game two they would boost the number up to 11 but 6 hitting errors would prove costly as they dropped it 25-16. Looking to hold off the sweep in game three the Lady Saints couldn’t get over the hump as they lost 25-17 as the 2009 National Runners Up took home the broom to drop Seward to 0-3 on the day. Fernandes was the lone bright spot offensively as she finished with 11 kills while the defense struggled as well with just 25 total digs and 4 blocks as a team.
Friday was a new day, well that was the thought going into their matchup with Northwest College. However, the Trappers had other ideas as they jumped all over the Lady Saints in game one 25-13 and wouldn’t lift their foot to give Seward a breath. They would take game two 25-17 and game three 25-16 as the Seward would drop their 12th consecutive set overall and their 5th match in a row to fall to 9-7 on the year. Fernandes ended the match with 13 kills and 2 errors while the rest of the Lady Saints combined for just 17 kills and 13 errors.
Apparently the losing wasn’t sitting well with Seward, as expected and they would break out of their slump in a big way in their next match against Sheridan. Seward would bang down 14 kills and have just 3 errors in game one against the Generals to win 25-18 and break the dubious streak. In game two the Lady Saints turned to defense to get the job done and that is exactly what they got from Stacie Carver who had 3 blocks in the 25-13 game two win. Looking to close out a sweep of their own the Lady Saints put together 14 kills and 6 blocks in game three as they picked up the victory on a 25-17 game three win. Fernandes had a big match for Seward, putting up 17 kills and 8 blocks while Maddy Taylor did a good job putting the ball on her hands throughout the match as she finished with 17 assists in 37 tries. Isabela Silva would lead the team in aces with 3 and Geesing would pace the club with 10 digs. Carver would end up with a career high 7 blocks in the match and Daiane Souza would chip in 4 in the victory.
In their 6th match in a day and a half, the Lady Saints would run up against a tall order, and I mean TALL order as they squared off with the 6th ranked team in the country, the Western Wyoming Mustangs. Western would start a front line of 6’4, 6’2, 6’1 against Seward off the bat and it was just too much for the Lady Saints to handle. Seward would hit just .146 in game one as they fell 25-18 and managed just 7 kills in a 25-16 game two loss. In game three the Lady Saints couldn’t get anything going as they dropped the game 25-15 to finish the tournament on a sour note. Geesing led the team in kills with 7 to go along with her team high 9 digs while Souza recorded Seward’s only 2 blocks in the entire match.
The weekend left the Lady Saints crawling home at 10-9 on the season and 3-2 in Jayhawk West Conference play.