Volleyball tops Pratt, runs into stiff competition at tourney

The once nationally ranked No. 11 Seward County Community College Lady Saints volleyball remain undefeated in the conference defeating Pratt and Colby but suffered three losses at Sterling Colo. The Lady Saints now set their sights on also undefeated in conference play Barton County. The now ranked No. 13Saints then ran into a brick wall when they went to the 2009 Pizza Hut Invitational in Sterling Colorado and returned 1-3 from the tourney. Eleventh is the highest ranking the Lady Saints have held under head coach Bert Luallen and the highest ranking the program has seen since 2003. “We came into last season ranked and it didn’t really mean much. It feels a lot better this season coming in unranked because we know we earned it,” sophomore Amanda Savage said. “It really puts a target on your back,” Luallen said. Seward came out hot in the first set against Pratt at the Greenhouse on Sept. 16, but had to battle through their second set and put things back together in the third. “I think we played pretty well overall,” Laullen said. “We had a little mental breakdown there in the second set but played well enough to win.” The Lady Saints sat at 13-1 with a 3-0 Jayhawk West record following the Pratt contest. Pratt was formerly ranked No. 11 and dealt the Saints their first loss this season on Aug. 29. Following that loss the Saints went 8-0 and defeated ranked competition in Tyler Junior College, Hill Junior College and Hutchinson. The Saints carried their No. 11 national ranking to Sterling, Colo., for a tournament full of some stiff competition last weekend. Friday, Seward took on No. 4 Western Nebraska Community College and No. 14 Northeastern Junior College before taking on No. 6 Iowa Western Community college and McCook Community College on Saturday. “We’re going to have to play really well this weekend,” Luallen said. “We are capable of winning every game but we have to reduce our errors and stay together as a team. If we come back 3-1 it would be a great accomplishment.” The Saints definitely faced a big test last weekend in a huge step up in competition. Seward showed that they still have some room for improvement but competed well against some of the top teams in the nation. The Saints kept pace with No. 4 Western Nebraska and No. 12 Northeastern and even held some leads at times. Seward was able to win some battles but not the wars and fell to both teams, Northeastern in devastating fashion, as they lost some close sets. The Lady Saints then took on No. 5 Iowa Western. Iowa Western put up some impressive runs on the Saints, and showed why they are No. 5 in the nation. Seward’s final match of the tourney was with unranked McCook. Seward overpowered McCook and ran home with a win. Seward sat at 14-4 following the tourney with all four of their losses coming to teams ranked inside the nations top 12. Seward then moved to 4-0 in the Jayhawk Western Division Tuesday night with a three-set sweep over Colby. The Saints are 15-4 with a No. 13 national ranking and are undefeated in conference play. Seward will take on Barton County at the Greenhouse at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Seward will also take on Clarendon Saturday evening at 6 p.m.

Crusader photo/ Chris “Turtle” Flowers Lindsey Miller and LaKendra Sanders go up for a block during the scrimmage against the Oklahoma Panhandle State University Aggies.
Crusader photo/ Chris “Turtle” Flowers
Lindsey Miller and LaKendra Sanders go up for a block during the scrimmage against the Oklahoma Panhandle State University Aggies.