It has always been one of those matchups that you can simply throw out the records when you see the two matchup on the schedule. Wednesday night in the Greenhouse the collision between the 11-2 Seward County Lady Saints and the 6-10 Hutchinson Lady Blue Dragons would prove to be more of the same.

Hutchinson stormed out to a 2-0 lead after 25-19 game one and game two wins before Seward held on to a 25-23 game three win to extend the match. The Lady Saints jumped out to a big game four lead and would cruise to a 25-18 win before a climactic game five would come to an end with a 17-15 decision in favor of Seward to give them the victory.
With second place in the conference on the line, the Lady Saints and Lady Dragons got underway in game one with Hutchinson getting out to a 3-0 and then 7-3 lead as Seward struggled to find their footing early on. A young Hutchinson team would seem unfazed in a tough Greenhouse environment as their lead continued to swell and reached 16-7 after three straight Seward County errors. A pair of Daiane Souza kills would get Seward to within seven but the Lady Dragon pressure would again give them distance as they went up 20-11 after a Lady Saints service error. Seward would then start to make their push as they scored six of the next seven points helped by kills from Courtney Geesing and Bailey McFerren to make it a 21-16 game as they were back within striking distance for the first time since early in the contest. However, two late attack errors for Seward would keep them from getting any closer as Hutch closed out game one with a pair of kills to take the opener 25-19.
After taking an early 3-1 lead in game two, the Lady Saints would see momentum pulled out from under them as Hutch rolled off four in a row to go up 5-3. Then back came the gals in green as Seward would go on a tear behind Geesing, whose four kills led the Lady Saints to eight straight points and all of a sudden a comfortable 11-6 lead. Seward would continue to build on their lead as they looked poised to tie the match up at one game apiece, taking a 16-9 lead later on after a kill from Aislyn Karney. That comfort would be short lived however as two Seward overpasses got the Lady Dragons back to within three and then three straight Seward hitting errors knotted things up at 16. A Hutch ball handling error would give Seward the lead back and a black from Sarah Miller and Aubree Young put them up 18-16. The lead would be short lived as the Lady Blue Dragons again rolled off five points in a row to get out of the hole and back on top and late in game two it was Hutchinson leading 21-18. Seward would get the next point to climb to within two at 21-19 but it was all red and blue from there on out as four consecutive hitting errors gave Hutch the game 25-19 and after two games the Lady Saints were in a 2-0 hole.
Game three was a dogfight from start to finish. Back and forth the teams went early on as the largest leads through the first 20 points of the game was Hutchinson leading 3-1 and Seward on top 7-5. The teams were tied at 9-9 after a kill from Bailey McFerren but the Lady Dragons would come back and take a 12-9 lead after three straight kills of their own. A Hutch service error would spawn a 5-0 run for the Lady Saints that ended with back to back blocks from Karney and Miller to give them a 14-12 lead. A Seward hitting error and a Hutch ace tied things at 14 and the see saw battle would continue to the 18-18 mark. Another kill from McFerren gave Seward the lead and two straight Hutch errant attacks put the Lady Saints up 21-18. In the game of runs, the Lady Saints lead would not last long though as by the 22-22 point of the game the Lady Dragons again had things tied up. Hutchinson looked like it had the upper hand as an ace fell to the floor in the middle of a confused Lady Saints defense but a kill and then a block from Geesing and Miller would put the home team up one 24-23. Looking to stay alive, the Lady Saints took game four as a Hutch attack went long and Seward held on to win 25-23 to force a game four.
As game four got underway it was the Lady Saints taking it straight to the chests of the Lady Dragons. Seward got kills from four different players to start things off and would take a 6-0 lead before Hutch got on the board. The Lady Saints would hold their six point lead to 8-2 but as par for the course on the night, a lapse for the home team would see Hutch get on an extended run and before Seward knew what hit them it was quickly a 9-7 game. Seward would get back on track and would maintain and then expand upon their lead and would go ahead by five, 14-9 when a perfectly executed Madison Winkelman pass found the hands of Marina Dias who distributed it to Daiane Souza for a kill. After their lead shrunk back to 14-11 Souza would get another put down and two plays later McFerren would hammer down a Lady Dragon overpass for a kill to make it 17-11 in favor of the Lady Saints. From that point on, the Lady Saints would maintain their distance, never leading by less than three as took advantage of a pair of Hutch errors and continued to put up a big block to coast to a 25-18 game four win to force a game five.
Tied up 2-2, the two longtime rivals hit the court again for a deciding game five. Hutchinson would control the tempo early on, taking a 4-1 lead before the Lady Saints scored three in a row to tie it up 4-4. The teams traded points to 5-5 but it would be Hutch that would pull in front as they scored four of the next five points to take a 9-6 lead. A combo block from Young and McFerren would spark a 3-1 Seward run to get them to within one at 10-9 and the Lady Saints would tie it up moments later at 11-11 on a kill from Karney. Seward would take their first lead of the game at 12-11 but that would not last as Hutch scored quickly to tie it at 12 and then the teams would split the next two points to remain deadlocked at 13-13. The Lady Dragons would have the match in front of them after scoring a point to go up 14-13 but their second service error in as many tries would give Seward a second chance as things were again all knotted up, this time at 14. The Dragons would execute a play for a kill to see another game point but Seward quickly got a sideout to keep playing. The Lady Saints would go up 16-15 on the next point when Hutch couldn’t get the ball over the net and a Lady Dragon hitter in the net on the final play of the game sealed the match as Seward took it 17-15 to win 3-2. As the Lady Saints celebrated on the court, a small but elated group of fans filled the Greenhouse with cheers for the victors.
The stat sheet would tell the story for Seward as they hit under .070 as a team in the first two games, leading to just a .113 overall number on the night. However, the Lady Saints did pull up a season high 66 digs as a team and would reject 19 Hutchinson attack attempts via block, also a season best. Offensively Geesing once again carried the gals in green, setting a new career high with 18 kills while notching her second straight double-double with 13 kills to go with them. Souza also recorded a double-double for the Lady Saints, hitting an efficient .407 with 13 kills and also picking up 11 digs on the night. McFerren finished with 9 kills and just 2 errors in 20 chances and also chipped in with 4 blocks for Seward. The Lady Saints block party was led by a pair of impressive performers as Miller led the team with a season high 11 blocks while Karney finished just one short of her career high with 10 blocks. Winkelman led the back row with 17 digs on the night and Dias led the Seward setters with 26 assists to go along with her 12 digs.
The Lady Saints Houdini like escape in their win vs the Lady Blue Dragons improves them to 12-2 overall on the 2011 campaign and sees their Jayhawk West record move to 5-1. They will now hit the long road to Torrington, Wyoming to play in the Wyo-Braska Shootout this weekend where they will matchup with #2 and undefeated Western Wyoming among others on Friday and Saturday. Seward returns home on Wednesday, September 28th when they will host a 1st place showdown as 5-0 Barton comes to the Greenhouse for a 6:30 start on Black Out night. All fans are encouraged to wear black in support of their Lady Saints as they try to make the Greenhouse black for the defending Region Champs visit to town. The Lady Saints will have official blackout shirts for sale for just $12 starting Monday, or you can reserve your shirts today by contacting Roy Allen at roy.allen@sccc.edu.
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