In a must win situation on Monday night in the Greenhouse, the Seward County Lady Saints volleyball team avenged an earlier loss to the Barton Cougars in Great Bend with a 25-18, 23-25, 25-17, 25-21 win to keep themselves in the race for a home playoff match as they vaulted themselves into a three way tie for 3rd place in the conference standings.
The Lady Saints came out fired up with a good home crowd behind them, staking themselves out to a lead to start the game on kills from Sheina Fernandes and Courtney Geesing and then an ace from Daiane Souza to make it 4-0. Barton would fight back as they looked to clinch a home playoff match with a win and scored seven of the next eight points to take a 7-5 lead of their own. The Cougs would continue rolling as they took a 10-6 lead but Seward would claw their way back into things midway through the game and things were tied at 13 after another kill from Fernandes. After trading points, Fernandes would pick up her 3rd kill of the game and put the Lady Saints up 15-14 and they would hold the lead to the end. Seward would outscore Barton 10-4 to finish the game including a 5-0 run to finish things out as they came away with the 25-18 game one win to set things up for the night.
Game two was back and forth early with neither team taking more than a two point lead until the Cougars took a 13-10 advantage after an overpass from the Lady Saints. Barton would go up 14-10 on another botched pass attempt by Seward but the Lady Saints would score the next four points to tie things back up at 14 apiece. Seward would take their first lead since 7-6 with a kill to from Isabela Silva to put them up 17-16 and later on they would take their largest lead of the game at 20-17 on three straight put aways from Souza and Fernandes. The Cougs would get the next three points to knot things at 20 and the two would trade the next six points to remain tied 23-23. Tied at 23 the Lady Saints thought they had a kill to put themselves up 24-23 but a call was made against the Lady Saints and so instead of having game point, they were facing game point for the Cougars. Up 24-23 Barton would put things away on their next chance and tie things up at 1 each with a 25-23 game two win.
Fernandes would again get Seward off to a lead in game three with a pair of kills but Barton would come back to make things even at 5-5 in the early going. From that point the Lady Saints would go on a 4-0 run started with a kill from Silva and finishing with a solo block from Fernandes to make it 9-5 Seward. Following suit with the first two games, game three was again a game of runs and Barton would score four straight of their own to tie things at 9 and the teams would remained tied at 11 midway through game three. The Lady Saints would then go on a 5-0 run with a barrage of kills from Fernandes, Geesing, and Shelly Malouff to go up 16-11 and take control of the game. The Cougars would make a comeback attempt to get it to 18-16 but that is as close as they would get as kills from Stacie Carver and Silva would put the Lady Saints up 23-17 and back to back attack errors from Barton would close it out as Seward went on to win 25-17.
Looking to finish the Cougars off in game four, the Lady Saints would take an early 4-3 lead with an ace from Fernandes but for the 4th time in 4 games, Seward and Barton would be knotted at 5-5 ten points into it. The Lady Saints would score five of the next six points to go up 10-6 and would use the momentum to hold a sizeable lead for the majority of the first half of the game. Seward would build their lead up to 5 at 16-11 but Barton wasnít ready to give up just yet and cut the margin down to a pair at 17-15 after a Lady Saints hitting error. After trading points, the Lady Saints remained up by two 18-16 and decided that they had toyed with the kitties long enough and scored three straight points on a pair of kills and a combo block from Souza and Carver to go ahead by five 21-16. The late run would be enough to push the Lady Saints over the top as they kept their distance from Barton, never leading by less than three before coming away with a 25-21 win on a bullet from Souza to win it.
It was a night of double-doubles for the Lady Saints on the stat sheet as Geesing (12 kills, 12 digs), Fernandes (12 kills, 10 digs), and Souza (12 kills, 10 digs) all accomplished the feat. Madison Winkelman had an outstanding game defensively for the Lady Saints shattering her previous career high in digs with 33 on the night as well as just one reception error in 18 chances. Malouff also set a career high in the win for Seward, notching 29 assists to go along with 8 digs and 6 kills while Carver finished with 7 kills and a team best 4 blocks. Maddy Taylor connected on 32 percent of her set attempts on the night and finished with 20 assists and Silva had a nice night on the outside, finishing with 6 kills and just 1 error.
The win draws the Lady Saints to an even 17-17 overall on the season but more importantly to 8-5 in Jayhawk West Conference play where they sit in a 3rd place tie currently. Their next action will come on Wednesday against Hutchinson on Sophomore Recognition night in the Greenhouse in another must win match if they are to host a Region VI Tournament match next Tuesday. The scenario goes as follows: If the Lady Saints can beat Hutchinson Wednesday and Pratt can avoid an upset from Colby the Lady Saints will finish as they #3 seed in the Region VI bracket and will host Hutchinson again next Tuesday for the first round play-in match. If Seward was to lose Wednesday or if the Trojans went to the Beaver Dome and beat Pratt than the Lady Saints only hope for a home playoff match would be a Garden City upset over Barton on Wednesday. If that didnít occur then the Lady Saints will be on the road to Colby next Tuesday as the #5 seed in the tournament.