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Lady Saints Split Day 1 of TJC Invite

Lady Saints Split Day 1 of TJC Invite

TYLER, Texas – The No. 6 Seward County volleyball (18-3) team split a pair of matches on Friday afternoon at the Tyler Junior College Invitational.  The Lady Saints were defeated in five sets by No. 7 Navarro (23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-22, 11-5) before sweeping North Central Texas (25-15, 25-16, 25-13).

NO. 6 SEWARD COUNTY VS NO. 7 NAVARRO

After a close start the first set, the Bulldogs took a five-point lead with a 5-0 run to make the score 12-7.  After a few brief points by the Lady Saints, Navarro struck again with five straight points coming off Seward passing errors to push their lead to double-digits.  Trailing 19-9, the Lady Saints used two runs to get back into the set, one of six points and one of eight points, making the score 23-21.  However, as service errors would become a theme to the match, two service errors by the Lady Saints would give the Bulldogs the 25-23 set one win.

Seward took a 6-4 lead early in the second set, but the Bulldogs kept the Saints in check by tying the match at seven.  With the match still tied at 18, Navarro went on a 5-0 run to take a commanding five-point lead late in the set.  Following a Bulldog hitting error, Navarro responded with back-to-back kills to take a 25-19 set two win and a two-set advantage.

The Lady Saints had to battle out of an 8-3 hole to begin the third set.  Starting with an Esmadar Tavares ace, Seward went on a 7-2 run to tie the set at ten.  The set stayed tied until the 15-point mark when the Lady Saints went on a 5-1 run to take a four-point lead.  After Navarro cut the lead to two points, Giovanna Tapigliani ended the set with a kill to give Seward the 25-23 set three win.

Trying their best to force a fifth set, the Lady Saints exploded out to a 7-2 lead. The tide quickly turned for the Lady Saints, as the Bulldogs mustered up a 17-4 run, taking a 19-11 lead.  Showing resiliency, Seward fought back, winning 13 of the next 15 points to take a late 23-21 lead.  Two more Tapigliani kills ended the set, as Seward even the match with a 25-22 set four win.

As the two teams traded blows early in the fifth set, it appeared the Lady Saints held the upper hand, taking a 9-6 lead as they switched sides, but it was Navarro who came out of the break with the momentum.  The Bulldogs ended the set on a 9-2 run to win the set 15-11 and the match 3-2.

Errors put the Lady Saints in a bad position all night, as Seward came away with 19 service errors, 12 blocking errors and four ball handling errors.

The Lady Saints were led on offense by Djuly Schmorantz (19 kills) and Tapigliani (14) kills, while being put in place by setter Laura De Pra (50 assists).

NO. 6 SEWARD COUNTY VS NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS

After losing in a heartbreaking, five-set thriller, the Lady Saints came out with something to prove against the Lions.  Seward took an early two-point lead following a Nathiellen Machado ace, making the score 7-5.  Seward went on a 7-2 lead starting with an Esmadar Tavares kill to make it 14-7.  The lead eventually ballooned to double-digits points as Tavares ended the set with a kill, giving Seward the 25-15 win.

Set two became the closest of the match, but quickly got out of hand.  After holding just a one-point lead, Tavares would jumpstart a 10-1 run to give Seward a commanding ten-point lead at 21-11.  North Central Texas tried to fight back into the set, but it was too little, too late as the Lady Saints won the set 25-16.

The Lady Saints used a series of runs in the third set to put the Lions down quickly.  Leading 5-4 early in the set, back-to-back Tavares kills would start an 8-3 Seward run to put the Lady Saints up six points. After the Lions cut the deficit to four points, Seward 7-2 run to take a 21-12 lead.  The Lady Saints pushed their advantage to twelve points with a Tapanga Johnson kill, ending the set 25-13 and giving Seward the sweep.

Tavares came away with a career-high 12 kills as she led the Lady Saints offensive attack.  She was the lone Lady Saint to come away with double-digit kills, as nine Seward County players came away with at least one kill.

Celenia De Leon and Laura De Pra split the setting duties for the Lady Saints as De Leon came away 19 in two sets played, while De Pra finished with 11 in one set.

Defensively, Machado and Asia Jhun finished with double-digit digs.  Machado had a team-high 12 digs, while Jhun had a career-high 10 digs. As a team, the Lady Saints came away with 6.5 blocks, led by Luz Sierra's four.

Seward will finish the TJC Invite tomorrow with matches against Blinn and No. 13 Tyler.