February 29th, 2024

saints volleyball sarah cruzSarah Cruz prepares to send a shot over the net during a match earlier this season in the Grenhouse. The Lady Saints qualified for the NJCAA national tournament but dropped their first match to Miami Dade 3-0. The Lady Saints continued to participate in the consolation bracket. L&T file photo/Earl WattEARL WATT • Leader & Times


Seward County opened the NJCAA National Volleyball Tournament in West Plains, Mo.,  with a loss to No. 6 Miami Dade despite having leads in the first two sets.

The Lady Saints were tied 4-4 early in Set 1 before reeling off six straight points to take a 10-4 lead.

But Miami Dade responded with four straight points to cut Seward’s lead to 10-8.

Seward pushed the lead back to 12-8 before Miami Dade put together an 8-1 run to take a 16-13 lead.

The Lad Saints cut the lead to 19-17 but couldn’t get any closer and dropped the opening set 25-18.

Seward again took a lead in the second set 10-5 and continued to lead 12-6 before Miami Dade responded with a 6-0 run to tie the game 12-12.

The Lady Saints pushed back to a 15-12 lead, but Miami Dade seized momentum with an 8-0 run to take a 20-15 lead.

But the Lady Saints continued to battle and cut Miami Dade’s advantage to 22-21 and ket within a point at 23-22 before dropping the final two points, and Miami Dade took the second set 25-22.

The Lady Sharks could smell blood, and they jumped out to a 7-0 lead against the lady Saints in the third set.

The Lady Saints couldn’t put together a rally and trailed 13-4.

The lady Saints cut the lead to 10 twice, 17-7 and 18-8, but couldnt get any closer and dropped the third set 25-10 to lose the match.

No. 6 Miami Dade advanced to an Elite Eight match-up with No. 3 Salt Lake later in the day and earned a 3-1 win to advance to the Final Four.

No. 6 Miami Dade will face No 2 Indian Hills for a trip to the national championship.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 Florida Southwestern, coached by former Liberal High School and Seward County Community College coach Thais Baziquetto-Allen and assisted by former Liberal High School coach Megan Besecker,  cruised by No. 16 Wallace State 3-0 and advanced to the Final Four with a 3-0 win over Central Wyoming.

Florida Southwestern will face Missouri State-West Plains who knocked off Northeastern 3-0 in the first round and then advanced with a 3-0 win over Western Nebraska.

The Lady Saints faced Eastern Arizona in the consolation round with the possibility of more matches during the weekend. See results in Tuesday’s Leader & Times.

Seward’s Dave Olaniyi prepares to make a pass against Hutchinson Saturday. Olaniyi scored 15 points [ ... ]


Seward’s Xoe Rosalez puts upa shot against Hutchinson defender Bri Horyna. Rosalez scored 11 points [ ... ]


Hayleen Martinez celebrates after winning the Class 6A state championship in the 190-pound weight class [ ... ]


L&T photo/Earl WattEARL WATT • Leader & Times


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