HUTCHINSON, Kan. – A trio of Lady Saints took the offensive in the Hutchinson Sports Arena as the No. 10 Seward County volleyball (5-2, 2-0) picked up a four-set win (12-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-14) over the Blue Dragons of Hutchinson. Freshman Djuly Schmorantz led the charge with 22 kills, while sophomores Giovanna Tapigliani (16) kills and Luz Sierra (12) kills, each reached double-digits kills.
While Seward picked up the win in the end, it was not the start they had planned for, going down 8-2 before the Lady Saints were forced to call a timeout to try to stop the momentum. The Blue Dragons kept the heat coming, extending their lead by winning ten of the next 15 points to take an 18-7 lead. Hutch went on to win the first set 25-12.
Following a lopsided set one, the two teams battled for the entirety of set two. Through the first ten points, neither team could gain an edge with the set tied at five. A Schmorantz kill changed the momentum as the Lady Saints went on a 7-1 run t go up 13-6. The Blue Dragons used a series of runs to pull within two points late in the set at 21-19, but a well-queued timeout stopped any Hutchinson momentum as Tapigliani scored three of the final four points to give Seward the 25-19 set two win.
From set three on, it was all Seward County. The Lady Saints opened the set with an 11-5 advantage with the trio of Schmorantz, Tapigliani and Sierra combining for seven of the eleven points. Seward continued their assault, pushing their lead to nine by a score of 20-11. The two squads traded the final ten points, but Seward walked away with the set three victory, 25-16 to take a 2-1 advantage.
The Lady Saints wasted no time putting the match away in the fourth set, going up 6-1 before forcing a Blue Dragons timeout. A small 4-1 run cut the Seward lead to just two points, but Sierra jumpstarted a 6-2 run with a kill, pushing the Seward lead back up to six points. The two-point deficit was the closest the Blue Dragons would get to catching the Lady Saints, as Seward used a series of small runs to win the set 25-14 and the match 3-1.
The win over the Blue Dragons marks the 26th straight Jayhawk Conference victory for the Lady Saints and the first time in the digital era (2004) that Seward County has won in Hutchinson in consecutive years.
While Schmorantz, Sierra and Tapigliani came away with the kills, it was freshman setter Laura De Pra who put them in place to get the kills, coming away with a four-set record-tying 54 assists.
Defensively, sophomore libero Nathiellen Machado finished with a career-high 25 digs, while Schmorantz came away with her second double-double of the season adding 15 digs to her 22 kills.
Seward will have a week off in between games. They will host Dodge City at 6:30 p.m. in the Greenhouse. Attendance is free and will also be live streamed on the SC Sports Network thanks to Equity Bank.