By ROY ALLEN
Seward County assistant athletic director
The Seward County Lady Saints missed out on multiple opportunities, and fell in five sets Tuesday night when they traveled to Colby to take on the conference-leading Lady Trojans.
Seward came out like gangbusters in the first, winning 25-22, but Colby answered with 25-15 wins in the second and third sets to take a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth, Seward fought back to force a deciding fifth set with a 25-23 win.
It looked like the Lady Saints might pull off the upset, before Colby scored the final four points of the set to win 15-10, and take the match 3-2.
The Lady Saints got off to a good start in the first set, jumping out to an 8-4 lead. The Lady Saints block then revved up its play at the net to extend their lead.
Morgan Riley combined on a pair of blocks with Carolina Gasparini and another with Nacole Miller to stretch the Seward lead to 14-7.
The Lady Saints were up by 10 at 23-13 when Colby made their biggest push of the set. The Trojans scored 9 of the next 10 points to make it a two point game 24-22.
Seward finally finished their set point opportunity with a block from Erika Gilbert and Miller to hang on and win, 25-22.
The start of the second set was not nearly as good for the Lady Saints. It was Colby jumping out to a 6-1 advantage, extending it to 13-4 after four straight Seward errors.
Seward’s struggles continued as they saw their deficit remain a large one at 17-9 later in the set.
A kill by Gasparini broke a stretch of 18 straight points without a kill for Seward to make it 17-10.
Colby continued to maintain their distance from the Lady Saints before going on to win 25-15.
Seward again struggled to get out of the blocks in the third. A lone Kristen Anderson kill three points in was their only earned point through 20 points as they fell behind 15-5.
The Lady Saints had four reception errors and six attack errors to that point in the set. Three of their five points came on Colby service errors.
The set continued to be dominated by the Lady Trojans as Seward looked stunned, and Colby went on to take the set 25-15.
The Lady Saints snapped out of it in the fourth, getting their offense going early with a pair of kills from Sanchez and another from Miller to put them up 6-3.
Seward kept their distance from the Lady Trojans and built upon their lead to 18-13 until a service error stopped their momentum, making it 18-14.
The unforced mistake jump started a 6-0 run for Colby, causing Seward to cough up their lead.
The Lady Saints came back to tie it up at 20 before the teams traded points to 23-23. An attack error by the Lady Trojans gave Seward a set point opportunity, and a chance to extend the match
Seward capitalized on the chance right away, getting a kill from Gasparini to close the set with a 25-23 win.
The Lady Saints scored the first two points in the deciding fifth set, but Colby got five of the next six to take a 5-3 lead.
The teams went back and forth to 7-5 before a kill by Colby’s Lorena Rosario put the Lady Trojans up 8-5 at the changeover.
Seward clawed back to within two, and a Colby service error drew the Lady Saints to within one at 10-9.
The 17th Lady Saints attack error of the night put Colby up two, 12-10.
A crucial ball handling error on the Lady Saints gave the Lady Trojans four cracks at match point with the score 14-10.
The Lady Trojans only needed one, as Seward was unable to get the serve back, and Colby went on to win 15-10 to take the match 3-2.
Seward’s production on the offensive side of the net was one of its poorest all season. The Lady Saints managed just 32 kills as a team on the night and got 20 of those 32 from two players. Gasparini led the team with 11, and Sanchez had nine.
Seward drops to 18-13 overall on the year, and are officially knocked out of the race for the Jayhawk West title at 8-4 with two matches remaining.
Colby improves to 18-7 on the year, and all but wraps up their claim to the Jayhawk West crown with a sparkling 10-1 record with three dates remaining.
The Lady Saints will have seven days off before taking the court again on Tuesday in the Greenhouse when they host Dodge City for Dig Pink Night. Fans are asked to wear pink to the match to help support breast cancer awareness.