Updated at 10:53 p.m.
ROSWELL, N.M. – The Hutchinson Community College volleyball posted a .400 hitting percentage for the first time since 2009 as the Lady Dragons opened the 2012 season with a 3-0 victory over South Mountain Community College at the fifth annual New Mexico Military Invitational on Friday.
Hutchinson defeated South Mountain 25-21, 25-12, 25-20 in the tournament opener. The victory was Hutchinson’s 899th all-time victory as a program.
Later on Friday, HCC rallied to force a fifth set against tournament host New Mexico Military Institute, but dropped a tightly contested 3-2 decision (23-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-23, 11-15) to the Broncos.
Hutchinson (1-1) will now meet No. 11 Seminole State at 9:30 a.m. and Odessa College at 1:30 p.m. (both times CT) to close out the tournament.
SOUTH MOUNTAIN RECAP
Sophomore opposite Jade Nelson and sophomore middle Gabby Rushton paced the Lady Dragons to a .400 hitting percentage (38 kills, 75 attacks, 8 errors). The last time HCC hit .400 or better in a match was a .426 performance against Spartanburg Methodist in the 2009 NJCAA Tournament.
Nelson posted a career-high hitting percentage of .688, pounding 11 kills – one short of her career high – on 16 attempts. Rushton, making her HCC debut after transferring from Trinity Valley last season, hit .667 with nine kills and only one error on 12 attacks. Freshman middle Megan Heier was a perfect 4-of-4 in attacks.
In the second set along, Hutchinson hit a torrid .576 with 17 kills and only two errors on 26 attempts the most decisive set victory of the match. One year ago, HCC defeated South Mountain in five sets.
Another transfer making her Lady Dragon debut, setter Scout Heizer had 25 assists, eight digs and three service aces. Sophomore setter Ashlyn Westerman added nine assists.
Libero Sam Lackey had 11 digs to lead HCC defensively.
Hutchinson had 8.5 team blocks with three coming from Nelson.
On Saturday, the Lady Dragons close out play in the New Mexico Military Invitational with matches against No. 11 Seminole State at 9 a.m. CT and Odessa College at 2:30 p.m. CT.
NEW MEXICO MILITARY RECAP
HCC dropped the first set and trailed 2-1 to New Mexico Military before rallying to force a decisive fifth set. The Broncos outlasted HCC 15-11 in the fifth set.
After nearly eclipsing her career high in kills earlier on Friday, Nelson pounded a career-high 17 kills and hit .464 to lead Hutchinson against the Broncos. For the day, Nelson hit .545 with 28 kills to lead the Lady Dragons.
Freshman Teresa Wade hit .303 on 11 kills, while Rushton was again solid in the middle, hitting .500 on eight kills.
Lackey had a huge match in the back row with 25 digs. Heizer tallied 29 set assists, while Westerman had 16 assists and four service aces.
The Lady Dragons had 11 blocks against the Broncos.
(HCC Sports Information