The Seward County Lady Saints captured their third straight Ozfest Invitational Tournament Championship on Saturday, sweeping both Lamar and Clarendon to finish the tournament a perfect 4-0 without losing a single set.
After a flawless Friday, the Lady Saints looked to continue their roll on Saturday at the Ozfest Invitational as they entertained Lamar in their first match of the day. The Lady Saints and Lopes were tight early on in the first as the two teams found themselves deadlocked at seven. A 7-1 Seward run with Kimberly Diaz at the service line pushed the Lady Saints out to a 15-8 lead and they didn't let up, getting a kill later on from Kaysie Paxton to keep their seven point advantage at 18-11. Lamar cut the Seward lead to four late, but a kill from Belissa Guidotti and another from Maritza Mesa pushed the Lady Saints over the edge as Seward went on to take the set 25-19 to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The Lady Saints had 15 kills and just two errors in the first to hit .520 as a team.
It was close again early in the second set with Seward just slightly out in front 7-6 after a Lope ace. At nearly the same spot that they did in the first set, the Lady Saints made a push, taking advantage of a rash of Lamar errors to stretch their lead to 15-8. After Lamar cut the Seward lead to four, a kill from Viviane Viana and an ace from Diaz widened the gap and made it a 20-14 score in favor of the Lady Saints. Lamar never got closer than four on Seward to close out the set and the Lady Saints got a kill from Guidotti on an overpass to finish things off, taking the set 25-19 to go on top 2-0 in the match. As they did in the first, Seward again had 15 kills and just two errors in the period, this time hitting at a slightly lower .325 clip.
The middle of the set was again key for the Lady Saints in the third as a 6-3 burst midway through, stretched a three point lead to a six point advantage at 12-6. Back to back kills from Megan Sharratt and a solo block from Paxton opened the lead to 16-8 and all but did in the Lopes. Seward took a 10 point lead on Wood's 10th kill of the match and a stuff from Mesa wrapped things up in a 25-13 win for the Lady Saints to sweep the match 3-0.
Wood and Mesa each had 10 kills for the Lady Saints in the win while Paxton chipped in seven without an error in arguably her finest offensive match of her young career. Jade Piper led the Lady Saints with 21 assists in the win while Amanda Pereira dished out 18. Seward had 11 aces as a team in the victory, led by five from their libero Diaz.
In their final match of the weekend, the Lady Saints took on Clarendon. The Lady Saints took control right away in the first, getting kills on five straight plays from three different players to take an early 8-2 lead. Seward continued to dominate the play, getting Megan Sharratt's fourth kill of the match followed by a block from Sharratt and Paxton to hit 10 first as the Lady Saints were on top 10-3. They held the seven point advantage to the middle of the set as a pair of Maritza Mesa kills made it 15-8 before another Sharratt blast stretched their cushion to 19-11 later on. An ace late by Amanda Pereira gave Seward set point and a Clarendon miscue sealed the first for the Lady Saints 25-13. The Lady Saints finished the first set with 17 kills, hitting .414 as a team.
The second set had a different tune to it early on. Clarendon jumped out to a 9-8 lead on the Lady Saints as they struggled to get things going. A kill from Sharratt tied the score at 12 midway through and it flipped the switch for Seward in the set. The Lady Saints scored the next four to go up 16-12 and after Clarendon got the ball back, a service error stopped any chance of Bulldog momentum to make it 17-13. With Pereira at the service line the Lady Saints caught fire, scoring the final eight points of the set, including a pair of loud swings from Alex Wood for kills to finish the second the same as the first 25-13. Seward's offense was again on point, blasting 14 kills through the Bulldog defense to finish the period with an incredible .650 hitting mark.
There would be no drama in the third. After the teams traded the first two points, the Lady Saints rolled off 11 straight points, including five on kills from Wood and two more on aces from Viviane Viana to open up the score early at 12-1. Seward didn't let up, extending their lead to 15 at 19-4 on two more kills from Wood. Viana put together back to back kills of her own later on in the set and an attack wide by Clarendon was the final nail for the Bulldogs as Seward cruised to a 25-6 win in the third to sweep the match 3-0. The Lady Saints got off just 18 swings in the set, but had 14 kills on those 18 attempts, good for their second straight .650+ hitting set at .667.
Seward hit a season high .552 as a team in the win, getting 45 kills and just 8 errors from their offense in 67 attacks. Leading the way once again was Wood who ripped off 17 kills without a single error, including 15 in the final two sets for Seward. Sharratt also had a big match, hammering home 11 kills while leading the Lady Saints with three kills. The Lady Saints setters were on point in the win as Piper and Pereira combined for 39 assists and were also deadly in the serve with seven aces.
The 4-0 weekend gave Seward its third straight Ozfest Invitational Tournament Championship. At the conclusion of the tournament, Alex Wood was named the Tournament MVP after putting on an absolute show, finishing the weekend with 52 kills and just 5 errors in the four matches. Joining Wood on the All-Tournament Team were teammates Jade Piper and Megan Sharratt, Sharratt's second straight season to earn the honors after being named MVP as a freshmen a season ago at the tournament.
Seward extends their season long win streak to eight games with the weekend sweep. The Lady Saints have now won 11 of their last 12 matches to improve to 15-7 on the year.
The Lady Saints continue a busy schedule on Monday as they travel to Great Bend to take on Barton to wrap up the first half of Jayhawk West Conference play. Seward will return home on Wednesday when they host Colby in the two teams second match of 2015.