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Splitting Day One for the Lady Saints in Las Vegas

Splitting Day One for the Lady Saints in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Nev.- With two matches against two of the top 10 teams in the Nation the Lady Saints were in for a battle to start off their trip in Las Vegas Nevada. Coming into the tournament they were 7-0 and won 21 consecutive sets against their opponents. Being the number one team in the nation the Lady Saiants were in for their first major tests of the season on the road and against some of the best competition they will see all season. They would need to get past number four Miami Dade (7-2) and follow up their performance 4 hours later against number eight in the nation Salt Lake Community College (13-2). 

The stage was set for a top 5 match up and the crowd showed up to fill the 4 row bleachers on the one side seating to watch the match of the day. The first set the Lady Saints were ready and jumped out on Miami Dade 17-11 and take the opening set 25-20. Heading into the second set would turn into a battle as both teams would exchange leads 5 diffrent times throughout the set. The Lady Saints would get stuck on 16 as the Sharks would take a 21-16 lead and the Saints could not climb out of the deficit. Miami Dade would tie up the sets 1-1 and take set two 25-20. This is the first time all season that the Lady Saints would lose a set after winning 22 consecutive sets until this point. Both teams would exchange powerful spikes back and forward to make the crowd oh and aye at each point.

The third set Miami Dade would carry their momentum from winning the previous set to take an early 12-7 lead. Coach Trifonov would take a time out to slow down the Sharks and for the Lady Saints to get back to their ways. It would turn out to be very effective as the Lady Saints would win 6 out of the next 8 points to take get back within one 14-13. After being tied 20-20 the Lady Saints would take the final 5 out of 6 points to win 25-21 and take a 2-1 set lead. Going into the fourth set was something new for this years Lady Saints team who have not played longer then 3 sets all season, they would come out of the gate a little sluggish and go down early 11-8. Miami Dade would then go on to win six out of the next eight points to take a 17-10 lead and Coach Trifinov would get the team together with another time out and the team would respond. Going on a run for themselves the Lady Saints would win five straight points to get back within one 17-16. The Sharks would take a 22-20 lead but again the Lady Saints do what they do best and close out the set winning five out of the lasr 6 points to claim the set 25-23 and the match 3-1.

It was a tremendous display of perseverance and composure to claim their first top 5 win of the season. Yanlis Feliz would lead the way with 15 kills, and Djuly Schmorantz with 11 kills for the Lady Saints. Moving on to the next match the Lady Saints had a 6 hour gap in between matches so their was no time to celebrate their well fought victory.

With an opponent in No. 8 Salt Lake Community College the Lady Saints were back into their pregame rituals and making sure to rest for the next match. The second match would be a true test especially this early in the season facing off against two of the top 10 teams in the nation will really push you to your limits. The Lady Saints came out to an early 14-7 lead and would not look back in set one and take it 25-16. It seemed that after the first set the Bruins woke up and came out the second set with a mission as the game started neither team would budge an inch, the whole set both teams would trade off leads but none of those leads exceeding 3 points. The final lead would go to the Bruins winning set two 25-22 and now it was back to a tied match 1 set a piece. The third set the Lady Saints would come out swinging taking a 9-3 lead early in the set and would carry that momentum throughout the set. They would keep their 6 point lead all the way to a 25-19 third set finish.

For the second time all season and the second time within 4 hours of each other the Lady Saints were entering a 4th set with the Bruins. Beginning all tied at 6-6 the Lady Saints would lose some energy and focus as the Bruins would start to pile on the points and take the fourth set 25-14. This is the largest deficit that Lady Saints have had all season. With a 5th set approaching they needed to dig deep and get back to what they do best. While the match was already high intensity the final set was on another level with the Bruins crowd all standing and the others sitting on the ends of their seats.

This set was the closest of them all. With both teams not wanting to lose this very intense match both teams would remain with in two points of one another. So it would begin with 5-5, then 8-8, 10-10, 11-11, with each point the other team would counter and get a side out. These made for some very intense rallies and cheers from both teams. The Lady Saints would face two match points and defend off one but came up short on the final attempt to lose the fifth set 16-14. Salt Lake Community College defeating the Lady Saints in the match 3-2 for their first loss of the season. 

Having to battle two top 10 teams in a span of 8 hours is a challenge and to still come out with some opportunities to learn and grow will show what this team is all about. Having these trials early in the season only prepares this team for great heights in the long run. Now with an overall record of 8-1 the Lady Saints are back in action taking on NJCAA D2 No. 2 Parkland College at 12PM CT and following that up with taking on the reigning National Champion in College of Southern Idaho at 4PM CT. There is no time to dwell on the one loss but to learn from it and bring that knowledge with for the next day.

 

Kenny Hernandez

Seward County Community College

Assistant Athletic Director for Communications