Liberal KS - Four matches and four match sweeps to start the 2019 Season. The No. 4 Lady Saints were the highest ranked team entering the New Mexico Military Institute Tournament, with a total of 4 out of the 10 teams ranked, they were the ones to beat. Being the top team in the tournament can bring tough matches from unlikely sources. With poise and confidence propelling the Lady Saints to 4 victories, brings even more excitement to an already buzzing team. Having seven returning sophomores providing the veteran leadership, brings the team to leadership when their backs are against the wall in a single set.
Friday the 23rd of August was the first day of the season, after already being in the main gym for practice the night before, the team already felt at ease and eager to get started. The first match of the season was a match up against New Mexico Junior College at the neutral site venue. Going up a commanding 19 – 9 in the first set the Lady Saints put themselves in cruise control winning the first two sets 25 – 13, and 25 – 15. New Mexico Junior College were on the ropes and started to play as if each point was match point, this made for a very interesting 3rd set. The Lady Saints came out to an early 9 – 2 lead, but the Firebirds would battle back to make it 14 – 12. After a time out by Coach Tony Trifonov, the Lady Saints got back to their bump, set, spike routine with sophomore Djuly Schmorantz and freshman Yanlis Feliz leading the way with 10 kills apiece, the Lady Saints win the final set 25 – 17, to claim their first victory of the season.
The evening matinee provided the first top 20 match up for the Lady Saints this season taking on No. 20 Arizona Western College and it lived up to the hype. Each long rally was followed by exuberance that filled the gymnasium that housed the other 8 spectators. The first set neither team would give up more than a two-point lead. In the final points of the first set the Lady Saints would take the final five out of seven points, winning the set 25 – 23.
The second set was no different then the previous set having both teams playing to their best of their abilities providing stunning digs followed by thunderous kills. The Lady Saints showed once again their abilities to close out tough sets, taking six of the last 10 points. They would go on to defeat #20 Arizona Western 25 -21 in the second set and again 25 – 21 in the third and final set. Severino provided 10 kills while Feliz was the game leader in kills with 15. The Lady Saints Libero Grecia Soriano also had a match high with 15 digs in the 3 set match. The Lady Saints conquered day one of the tournament and went 2 – 0.
Watching the sunrise on the bus heading to their first match of the day, the Lady Saints were preparing to take on South Mountain Community College. Right away in the first set the Cougars from South Mountain woke up prepared for the Lady Saints and took an early 1 – 5 lead in the first set. The Lady Saints spikes were not landing in the same spots as they did the day before and service errors that were uncharacteristic as well. The Cougars led late in the set first 19 – 16 and Coach Trifonov called a time out to get back on track. After losing the next two points the Lady Saints would get a side out and get the ball into the serving hands of Livia De Pra to win 3 consecutive points to bring the Lady Saints within one point, 20 -21. Once again, they showed their pose and determination to win and would go on to win 6 out of the last 10 points to take the lead for the first time in the set and win 26 – 24. The toughest set they faced all weekend and yet again the play of Freshman Yanis Feliz provided the last two final kills to win the first set. The Lady Saints would take that momentum to the next two sets, winning set two 25 – 16 and set three 25 – 13. Feliz had a team high 12 kills on 16 attempts with just 3 errors for a kill percentage of .562 for the match.
3rd and final set goes to the @LadySaintsVB 25 - 13! First set was a battle with South Mountain CC but pulling away and winning this morning; set 1: 26 - 24, set 2: 25 - 16, set 3 25 - 13! Now 3 - 0 on the season #SCCCSAINTS #GoodToBeGreen @NJCAAVolleyball @KJCCCmedia pic.twitter.com/NvvEzsl8kp— Seward County Saints (@SewardSaints) August 24, 2019
With the final match that afternoon the Lady Saints were once again set up with a top 20 match up taking on No. 12 Hill College. The Lady Saints quickly jumped out in the first set taking a 6 – 1 lead and never looked back, winning 25 – 17 after leading 21 – 11. The second set gave Hill College more energy as the Rebels battled to trail by 2, 14 – 12. After another timely timeout by Coach Trifonov, the Lady Saints responded with an 11 – 4 run and winning the second set 25 – 16. The third and final set went to the Lady Saints in dominant fashion 25 -9. For the first time all season holding an opponent to less than 10 points in a single set. Leading the team in kills was once again Feliz with 17, Schmorantz had 13 kills and the setter Laura De Pra provided 41 assists for the team.
With a 3 for 3 performance again this afternoon the #4 Lady Saints defeat #12 Hill College 25 - 17, 25 - 16, and 25 - 9!! Taking care of business in the first weekend and now 4 - 0 on the season! #GoodToBeGreen #SCCCSAINTS @NJCAAVolleyball @KJCCCmedia pic.twitter.com/atTiQTG6QO— Seward County Saints (@SewardSaints) August 24, 2019
Having such a dominant performance all weekend long the No. 4 team in the nation looked as if they have been preparing for this moment ever since the end of last season. Having seven sophomores to lead the way and teach the young talented freshman has already shown that this team is eager and ready for the challenges ahead. This week another gameday approaches and the Lady Siants will be taking on Butler Community College on Wednesday August 28th at 6:30pm CT for their first conference game. Playing a conference opponent on their home court is one thing but coming in 4 – 0 and currently ranked #4 in the nation is a whole different story.
Seward County Community College
Assistant Athletic Director for Communications