LIBERAL, Kan. – The Jayhawk Conference runs through Liberal for a third straight year as the No. 8 Seward County volleyball team swept the Independence Pirates 25-8, 25-9, 25-17 to clinch a share of the Jayhawk West on Sophomore Night. It marks the first time in program history that Seward has won the Jayhawk Conference three years in a row.
It didn't take long for Seward to assert their dominance. After leading by just two points through the first ten points, the Lady Saints finished on an immaculate 19-4 run to win the set 25-8. The run started and ended with a Pirates hitting error, but Giovanna Tapigliani and Dorianne Lebron played vital roles, combining to come away with seven of the points.
The Pirates didn't fare much better in the second set, quickly falling in a seven-point deficit before they managed to score their first point. Independence managed to cut the lead to three following four Seward hitting errors, but the Lady Saints found their stride again, ending the set on yet another unbelievable run, winning 16 of the final 19 points to win 25-9 and take a two-set advantage over the Pirates.
The third set turned into the worst of the night for the Lady Saints, as they hit just .042 in the set after connecting hitting .500 in the first set. The teams stayed knotted at 12 points apiece before the Lady Saints used a 3-0 run to grab some breathing room. Another run, this time of four-points, pushed the Seward lead to six points, forcing a Pirate timeout to try to slow the momentum, but it was too late, as the Lady Saints ended the set following three Independence errors, 25-17, to complete the sweep.
In a dominating performance, the Lady Saints were led on offense by sophomore Giovanna Tapigliani who connected on 11 of her 19 swings, while committing zero attacking errors. Seward was paced by setters Laura De Pra and Celenia De Leon.
Three Lady Saints finished with more than five digs – Nathiellen Machado (10), Tapigliani (8) and Djuly Schmorantz (7). Seward finished with six team blocks, led by Schmorantz, who finished with three.
Seward will look to win the Jayhawk Conference outright in their final match of the season on Wednesday, when they travel to Colby for a 6:30 p.m. clash with the Trojans. The Lady Saints defeated Colby in their earlier matchup this season, 3-0.