For the first time in nearly a month the Seward County Lady Saints came out of a match feeling like they had put it all together. After a forgettable October, against a tough schedule albeit, Seward kicked off November and the Region VI Playoffs with a three game sweep over visiting Pratt to advance to the Final Four and just three wins away from having a chance to play for a National Championship.

As they had in two previous meetings, Seward and Pratt looked evenly matched as they got things going in the Greenhouse on Tuesday night. The game was tied at 3 when Seward went on a 4-0 spurt as Daiane Souza picked up a kills, Bailey McFerren got a block and Courtney Geesing hammered down back to back kills to put the Lady Saints up 7-3. Then it was time for the nationís top blocking team to go to work and that they did, as Aislyn Karney and Sarah Miller combined on a pair of rejections and Miller got a solo block of her own to give the gals in green a 12-6 cushion. A kill from Karney had Seward on top 17-9 and they built their lead all the way to 24-14 before a late comeback by the Beavers made the final score of 25-18 respectable as the Lady Saints cruised to the game one win.
Seward looked good early on in game two as they were out to a 5-0 lead on a back to back kill and block from Karney and an ace from Geesing. Pratt climbed back into things and after a Lady Saints service error later on, tied it up at 8-8. A Geesing kill and a Souza ace put Seward back on top by a pair and three straight Beaver errors gave them a five point cushion of 13-8. Again, the relentless Beavers erased the Lady Saints advantage and once again the teams were tied at 14. They remained tied to 17-17 until a combo block from McFerren and Souza spawned a 4-0 Seward run to go up 21-17. It looked as if Seward was well on their way to a 2-0 lead up 23-19 but a trio of Pratt kills as well as a Beaver block tied the game up at 23. A kill from McFerren gave the Lady Saints game point but Pratt answered back to make it 24-24. Another McFerren hammer put Seward in position to clinch once again but an attack that sailed long for the Lady Saints evened it up for the third time. The Seward attack proved too much in the end for the Beavers as Geesing the Lady Saints up 26-25 and then put the game away with another blast to propel the Lady Saints to the 27-25.
A balanced attack on the front line in game three propelled the Lady Saints to another lead but some errant shots from the same attackers allowed Pratt back into things and the third was knotted at 4-4 early. After going ahead 6-5, a service error brought the Lady Saints back even with the Beavs before a pair of Geesing kills and another by Miller put the home team back ahead by three, 9-6. After a Beaver point, the Lady Saints scored the next four points on two more Geesing kills, and a pair of blocks to take a 13-7 lead. From there on it was smooth sailing for the gals in green as Seward stretched their lead to 21-12 before wrapping it up 25-14 to win the match and advance to the quarterfinals.
With Souza back on the Seward front row for the first time in over four weeks, the Lady Saints stat sheet was far more balanced as their leading hitter Geesing paced the team with 11 kills, Souza had 9, McFerren picked up 8, and Karney chipped in 7. The Lady Saints hit .278 as a club in the opening game before slumping down to .077 in game two, but put down 17 kills and just one error in game three to finish at .444. Marina Dias picked up her sixth straight double-double with 26 assists and 12 digs in the match. Madison Winkelman topped the 20 dig mark for the second time in the past four matches with 23 while Miller and Karney shared the team lead with 5 blocks each.
With the win Seward advances to the Region VI Final Four for the 17th consecutive season. The Lady Saints will continue their road to a Region VI Title in Wichita on Saturday at 2:00 as they square off with the Colby Lady Trojans, a team Seward split with during the regular season. Joining the Lady Saints and Lady Trojans in Wichita will be 4th seeded Hutchinson and conference champions Barton who will play Saturday at 12:00.
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