By ROY ALLEN
Seward sports information director
The Seward County Lady Saints opened their 2014 Jayhawk season in enemy territory on Wednesday night as they traveled to the Kirkman Center in Great Bend to take on the Barton Cougars. The two teams split the first two sets before Seward took control in the third to win 25-16 before finishing the Cougars off in style with a 25-19 win in the fourth to take the match 3-1 to move to 5-0 on the early season.
It was all Seward County to get things going as reigning Jayhawk West Player of the Week Thayna Silva finished off three kills in the first five points of the match, and the Lady Saints jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
Barton eeked back into the set midway through at 16-12, but three straight Seward points opened the lead back up to 19-12. Barton continued to struggle with a heavy dose of outside hitter Silva who banged home three more kills in the final four points of the set to give the Lady Saints a 25-16 first set victory.
After Seward scored the first point of the second set, Barton rolled off six in a row, thanks in large part to four Seward County errors, to grab a sizable 6-1 lead. The Cougars controlled the pace throughout the set and held a 12-6 lead midway through and opened up a commanding 23-13 late in the set before mercifully putting the Lady Saints away 25-17 to even the match at 1-1.
In the all important third set, it was Seward’s serving that got them out to the early advantage. After a pair of kills from Angelina Minor, Kari Anderson picked up an ace and Taryn Bedore added two more to give Seward a 7-2 lead. Barton closed the gap to 9-7 after two straight Seward ball handling errors and the Cougars tied the game at 12-12 on a Seward rotation error.
The Lady Saints regained their footing and scored five of the next six points to go up 17-13 and they cruised from there. This time is was the Lady Saints other outside hitter, Carolina Gasparini that gave the Cougars problems. The 2013 Jayhawk West Freshman of the Year rounded out the set with three kills, including two to close out Barton and give Seward a 25-16 win.
The Lady Saints had another good start in the fourth set to finish off the rival Cougars. The Lady Saints got kills from four different players to take a 4-2 lead to begin the set, and they stretched their advantage to 10-4 on a tip from Carolina Freitas. The Lady Saints continued to put it on the reeling Cougars and went up 13-5 at the halfway point. Seward continued to dominate Barton with 21-14 lead on Silva’s 20th kill of the match. Barton attempted to rally, but it was too little too late, and Seward finished off the Cougars 25-19 on a Gasparini kill to give the sophomore a dozen in the match.
The Brazilian duo of Silva and Gasparini were again nails at the net for the Lady Saints. Silva recorded her second 20-plus kill match of the early season with 21 putaways while committing just two errors and hitting .463 in the match. Gasparini finished the night with 12 kills on 29 swings, hitting .241 for Seward. Both of the Lady Saints outsides notched double-doubles in the win as Silva picked up 12 digs and Gasparini 11.
Also chipping in on the offensive end was Minor who hit .350 in the match with eight kills. Kristen Anderson led the Lady Saints with 22 assists while Bedore put up 18. The Lady Saints had eight aces in the match including three from Bedore and two each from Silva and Kari Anderson. Kari Anderson also led the Lady Saints with 16 digs in the win, and Minor notched a team best three blocks for Seward.
Seward improved to 5-0 on the year and 1-0 in Jayhawk West action while Barton remains winless at 0-5 and 0-1 in league play. The Lady Saints will have just one day off before hitting the court and the road once again when they travel to Vernon, Texas to take part in the Vernon Labor Day Classic Friday and Saturday.