The #14 Seward County Lady Saints volleyball team got much more than they bargained for Wednesday night when they traveled to Dodge City to take on a 6-5 Lady Conquistadors team that they had already taken care of twice this season. In front of another ruckus Jayhawk West Conference road crowd, the Lady Saints would fall flat in game one losing 25-19 and would drop game two 25-22. In game three Seward’s fortunes would turn with a 25-21 win but things fell apart late in game four as they lost 25-21 and Dodge City’s celebration was on.

As game one began in the cramped DCCC gym, the Lady Saints and Lady Conqs played even early on with the score tied 3-3. They would again trade the next four points and ten points in the game was tied at 5-5. Dodge would then go on a 3-0 spurt to take an 8-5 lead but the Lady Saints would return the favor, scoring three of their own, including a kill by Courtney Geesing to knot it back up at 8-8. The Lady Conqs would take advantage of a slip in focus of the Lady Saints to take a 12-9 lead later on but Geesing looked to have another kill to bring Seward to within two but a controversial call was reversed and rather than the score being 12-10, the Lady Saints found themselves in a 13-9 hole. The play swung momentum over to the Dodge City side and they took advantage, rolling off six straight points after that to bury the Lady Saints in a 19-9 hole. Down 23-13 later on the Lady Saints would attempt a late comeback as Daiane Souza got a kill, Katie Marks had an ace, and Bailey McFerren and Aislyn Karney combined on a block to bring them to within seven, but it was too little, too late, and a rotation error would seal Seward’s game one fate as they fell 25-18.
The Lady Saints struggles would continue in game two as a string of hitting errors would put them behind 7-4. Seward would finally get their first kill of the game thanks to McFerren to cut the Dodge lead to 7-5 but the Lady Conqs would quickly sideout and get back to tacking on to their lead in which they would shortly grow to 12-7. After Dodge’s lead grew to 15-8, Karney would come up with a pair of kills to make it a six point game and did the same two points later to put the score at 16-10 in favor of Dodge. After a Lady Conq point made it 17-10, McFerren and Geesing went to work, passing the offense back and forth to each other to get Seward to within four at 19-15. An ace from Marina Dias made it 19-16, a Dodge player in the net made it 19-17 and a kill from Geesing had Seward back to within one at 19-18. However, a service error and a ball handling error by the Lady Saints would allow Dodge to go up 21-18 and they would never get any closer as a pair of errors sank them in game two as they fell 25-22.
Game three would yet again see the teams jostle for position early as they went back and forth to see the score tied at 7-7. The score remained deadlocked at 9-9 and then again at 11-11 and then 13-13 after a back to back kill and ace from McFerren. Still tied at 15 and then 16, Seward would take their first lead past the 10 point mark of any of the first three games when Karney and Sarah Miller combined on a block to put the gals in green up 17-16. As par for the course in game three, Dodge would come back to tie it back up at 18-18 and then 19-19, and tit for tat the teams went to 21-21. Looking to live to see another day, the Lady Saints would then turn on the afterburners and namely McFerren and Geesing as the two Lady Saints finished game three with four straight kills to give Seward a 25-21 win.
Game four almost identically mirrored game three in the early going as again neither team was able to get any separation as they went back and forth to such extremes that neither Seward or Dodge scored more than 1 point in a row for 16 straight from 1-1 to 9-9. The game continued to see the two tied at 11-11 until Dodge made a mini run to take a 14-11 lead after back to back kills. Two Geesing kills would just keep Seward there as they continued to trail 16-13 but would make up the ground to tie it back up at 17 after a kill from Souza, a block from Karney and McFerren, an ace from Christina Fisher and then another block from the twin towers of Karney and McFerren in succession. Trying to keep things rolling, the Lady Saints would get called in the net and then hit a ball out of bounds to let Dodge leak out to a 19-17 lead. Later, the Lady Saints would see their deficit grow to 22-18 but wouldn’t stop fighting as they cut the Lady Conq lead to one after three straight points to make it 22-21. Looking like they might be able to force a deciding game five, the Lady Saints struggled to the finish line in game four as Dodge hammered home three straight kills as Seward was unable to sideout and the 14th ranked gals in green would fall 25-21 to the delight of the packed house.
There were not many highlights on the stat sheet for Seward at the end of this one as they managed to hit just .171 in the match as a team and gifted the Lady Conqs with 43 freebies on the night via errors. The lone bright spots for Seward came in Geesing and McFerren who combined for 27 of the Lady Saints 36 kills as a team. Karney finished with 7 blocks and McFerren 6 while Marks and Souza shared the team lead with 10 digs. Fisher connected on 41% of her set attempts and finished with 19 assists and Marks, Dias, and Souza each picked up 2 aces in the loss.
The loss was a tough one for the Lady Saints, dropping them back to 3-1 in Jayhawk West Conference play and 10-2 overall on the season. They now must gear up for their longest conference road trip of the season on Saturday where they will travel to Concordia to take on Cloud County at 2:00. Seward will then return home on Wednesday when they will welcome Hutchinson to the Greenhouse at 6:30 on Area High School night where all Southwest Kansas High School students are encouraged to attend, free of charge, with prizes given out throughout the night.
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