COLBY, Kan.- For the second straight year, the Seward County volleyball team won the Jayhawk West Conference outright, defeating the second-place Colby Trojans in four sets, 25-16, 25-16, 20-25, 25-22. This marks the second time in program history that the Lady Saints have won back-to-back outright Jayhawk West Championships, joining the 1999 and 2000 teams.
Seward jumped out to an early 4-1 lead with a Dorianne Lebron kill. The Trojans were able to cut the lead to one at 11-10 but were never able to take a lead in the set. The Lady Saints went on a 6-0 run to make it 18-10 before finishing off the set, winning 25-16 with a Laura De Pra ace.
After taking the first set in easy fashion, Seward struggled out of the gates in the second set, going down 5-1, with their lone point coming off a Colby serving error, forcing an early Seward timeout. Seward returned to their form after the timeout winning eight of the next ten points to take an 8-7 lead. The Lady Saints continued to push their lead, going up seven points following a Giovanna Tapigliani kill to make it 17-10. Seward duplicated the first set, winning 25-16 with another Tapigliani kill.
Seward took a 6-4 lead to start the third set after back-to-back blocks by Luz Sierra. After tying the set just a few points later, the Trojans overtook the Saints 14-12 and forced Seward to call a timeout. The timeout did not land successfully as the Trojans continued to extend their lead, winning set three 25-20. It marked just the second set the Lady Saints had dropped in conference all season.
Through the first ten points of the fourth set, the Trojans took a 6-4 lead. Colby pushed their lead to four just a few points later, making Seward take a timeout to try to slow the Trojan momentum. Seward trimmed the lead to one point at 13-12, but struggled to take the lead back, tying the set at 16, but falling behind one point again with a serving error. The set was tied again at 21 before Tapigliani gave Seward their first lead of the set with a kill. The Lady Saints finished the set a few points later, winning 25-22 to clinch the Jayhawk West outright.
Seward was led by an offensive explosion out of sophomore Tapigliani, leading the team with 19 kills. Luz Sierra (12 kills) and Djuly Schmorantz (10 kills) joined Tapigliani with double-digit kills. Laura De Pra helped put the Lady Saints in position all night, finishing with 45 assists.
The match wrapped up the regular season for the Lady Saints, finishing a perfect 16-0 for a second straight year. Seward will now look towards the playoffs, where they will host the 8th seeded Dodge City Conquistadors on Halloween Night, for a 6:30 p.m. Region VI match.