After a huge win over Dodge City Tuesday night in front of an amped Greenhouse crowd, it looked as if the Seward County Lady Saints might have just turned things around in their up and down 2010 season. However, with much riding on their matchup Thursday night at Colby, Seward again fell flat on their faces against the Lady Trojans, falling in 3 games for the second time this season and putting themselves in an uphill battle to host a first round Region VI Tournament game this season.
The Trojans came out confident against the Lady Saints who held a 10-3 advantage over them in 13 previous meetings before Thursday night. Colby got out to a 3-0 lead but Seward would come back and take a 4-3 lead of their own after an ace from Daiane Souza. Moments later things would be knotted at 5 when the Lady Trojans would get on a roll. Colby would score eight of the next nine points in the game and would take a 13-6 lead to which Seward would never be able to erase. The Trojans would extend their lead up to 19-10 before the Lady Saints would respond with a kill from Sheina Fernandes that would set them off on a 8-2 run to draw them to within three at 21-18. Colby would score the next two points but Isabela Silva would send back two Trojan attacks in a row for blocks and again Seward was within three 23-20. That would be all the fight the Lady Saints would show though as Colby would finish things off with two kills to put things away and take a 1-0 lead with the 25-20 game one win.
The two teams would joust back and forth in game two and neither had an advantage with the score 10-10 early on. Seward would go up 12-10 but a pair of errors would draw things back to even 12-12. After trading points to 13-13, Colby would take the lead and start to pull away, scoring five of the next eight points to go up 18-15. They would keep the three point spread to 21-18 and then 23-20 and just when it looked like Seward was going to go behind 2-0 then rallied up for four straight points including a back to back kill and block combo for Fernandes and an ace by Katie Marks to give them a 24-23 lead. From there on it was one of the best games of ‘tug of war’ that Seward volleyball fans have ever seen. Things went tit for tat into the 30’s as the Lady Saints had six chances to close things out while Colby had just three but after Fernandes and Silva combined on a block to put Seward up 31-30, Ana Calito of Colby used the hands of the Lady Saints block perfectly, battering three straight attacks off the block and out of bounds to tie the game at 31, put Colby ahead 32-31, and then close out the Lady Saints chances 33-31 to put her team up 2-0.
Visibly deflated from the marathon game two loss, the Lady Saints quickly found themselves behind 10-3 in the third game. With the score 13-6 Seward slowly climbed back into the game and after a kill from Shelly Malouff and a block from Fernandes, they were within striking distance at 13-11 and right back in the mix. The spread would remain at two through the middle part of the game until Malouff picked up a solo block to draw the Lady Saints to within one at 17-16 but from that point on it was all blue and white. Two straight Seward attack errors would start a 4-0 run for Colby to make it 21-16 and after a Seward sideout, another attack error followed by a reception error would all but seal their fate at 24-17 and on the next point went on to drop the game 25-17 to send them home in a three game sweep by the Lady Trojans.
The Seward offense was dismal in the loss as the Lady Saints managed just a .042 hitting percentage as a team, their lowest output in over two seasons and they had just one hitter with over a .125 kill percentage on the night. Fernandes led the team in kills with 9 to go along with 9 digs and 6 blocks while Souza finished with 7 kills and Courtney Geesing 6 in the loss. Maddy Taylor led the squad with 14 assists while Malouff chipped in 13 in 40 tries. Madison Winkelman led the team with 16 digs and Geesing again cracked the double digit mark with a dozen of her own. Seward did block relatively well in the defeat as along with Fernandes’ 6, Silva finished with 5 to lead the Lady Saints who ended up with 11 rejections on the night.
The loss was a big one for Seward, dropping them to 16-17 on the season and 7-5 in Jayhawk West Conference play. They now face a tough challenge of knocking off Barton on Monday and Hutchinson on Wednesday at home if they are to have even a chance of hosting a first round playoff game. The scenario is relatively simple. If the Lady Saints do win both of those matches next week and Pratt defeats Colby on Wednesday at home then the Lady Saints will be at home as the #3 seed and will host Hutchinson. If Seward loses either of the matches next week or Colby upsets Pratt in the Beaver Dome, the Lady Saints will be on the road on November 2nd, likely traveling to Colby again for the first round.
Monday night will be the Lady Saints official KJCCC ‘Toys for Tots’ night where the Lady Saints ask that all fans attending the match bring a new toy and place it in the collection bin on the South side of the gym to be given to less fortunate children at Christmas time. Wednesday night will be the Lady Saints sophomore recognition night when Sheina Fernandes, Stacie Carver, Maddy Taylor, and Jordan Martin will be recognized along with managers Macayla Rome and Heather Haller for all of their hard work during their two seasons in the green and white.