By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Seward County advanced to the Final Four of Region VI with ease Saturday in a three-game sweep of Pratt at the Green House.
The Lady Saints also saw he return of Daiane Souza who returned after an early-season injury. Souza dominated at the net and on defense to help the Lady Saints cruise to the first-round playoff victory.
Liberal won Game 1 25-18, but the Lady Beavers rallied from five down in Game 2 to tie the score 23-23.
“That’s volleyball,” Seward coach Bert Luallen said. “Sometimes it drops, and you attempts some things and they don’t work. The other team is going to score. It’s just one point. What we try to do is not let it turn in to four or five or six.”
Seward maintained a one-point lead with strong defensive play and finally put the game away 27-25.
With momentum behind them, the Lady Saints dominated the third and final game for the sweep, 25-14.
“This was a step we had to take,” Luallen said. “We had confidence coming in and I knew we were capable of taking care of business.”
Seward was also able to work with Souza and get a feel for her style of play when the Lady Saints travel to Wichita for the Final Four.
“She provides a spark,” Luallen said. “Her on-court leadership brings confidence. It really helps out.”
Souza dove for balls along with other Lady Saints in the playoff win. Seward will now face the top teams in Region VI in the Final Four.
“The key is to stay focused,” Luallen said. “Blockers need to focus on closing their blocks, and the defense will do their job. Passers and setters need to do their job. When something bad happens, let it go.”
Seward will face Colby at 5 p.m. Saturday.