Perhaps playing in front of the home folks at the Sports Arena for the first time this season had the Hutchinson Community College volleyball team a little on edge coming off a successful opening weekend in New Mexico.
The Lady Dragons’ nerves probably didn’t subside when Colby grabbed eight of the first 10 points in their Jayhawk Conference opener. But a kill from sophomore Shane Haley seemed to put the world back in order for HCC.
The Lady Dragons rallied from that eight-point deficit, took the first set and won their 2012 home and Jayhawk West opener with a 25-21, 25-20, 25-17 victory over the Trojans.
How quickly did Hutchinson rally from that 8-2 first-set deficit?
An 11-6 run that was capped off by a Colby attack error pulled HCC within 15-14. Colby (4-3, 1-1 Jayhawk West) edged back out to three and led 21-19. HCC scored the final six points of the set to grab the early lead.
Haley had three kills in that first set and had match-high eight kills. Sophomore Jade Nelson, who was named the Jayhawk West Player of the Week on Monday, finished with seven kills and freshman Teresa Wade had six kills to lead HCC. Sophomore Gabby Rushton added five kills and three total blocks (1 solo, 2 assist).
Hutchinson (3-2, 1-0) out-hit Colby 35-26 and had four service aces. The Trojans out-blocked HCC 8-4.
Sophomore setters Scout Heizer had 18 set assists and Ashlyn Westerman had 11.
Defensively, the Lady Dragons were tough. Freshman libero Samantha Lackey had a match-high 15 digs. Wade finished with 11 and freshman defensive specialist Taylor Karcher had seven.
Lorena Rosario and Tayrn Lee had five kills each to lead Colby. Abby Gifford and Sarah Eisenbarth had four each. Emily Torson had a match-high five blocks.
A stuff block put Colby up 8-2 in the first set. Haley’s kill started a small 4-1 run to pull within 9-6. The Trojans kept getting critical sideouts to keep HCC at arm’s length. After a Lady Dragon service error, Colby led 17-14. Freshman Megan Heier started what was to be an HCC comeback with a kill out of the middle. HCC finally came all the way back to tie the set at 19-all when Colby misplayed a ball sent over by Lackey.
Kills by Maisy Munson and Gifford gave Colby a 21-19 lead, but the Trojans committed the final of three big service errors, which started a 6-0 Hutch run to close the set. That run consisted of a Rushton kill, a Wade service ace, a Rushton kill, a Colby attack error and a kill from Haley on set point.
Colby led early in the second set, but this time only at 3-1. Tied at 6-all, HCC scored three straight for a 9-6 lead. Colby used a big block in the second set – the Trojans outblocked HCC 5-3 with two solos and three assists from Torson – to stay close. A Torson solo stuff tied the set at 10-all and a combo block pulled the Trojans within 13-12. HCC then reeled off four straight – a four points coming on Colby net, ball-handling or attack errors – to lead 17-13. The Hutch lead grew as large as seven points twice. Kills by freshman Mariah Dickson and Nelson closed out the set for a 2-0 match lead.
Kills from Dickson and Haley staked HCC to an early 9-4 lead in the third set. A Rushton kill and Kayla Karmazyn service ace grew the lead to 16-9. HCC had several defensive miscues after that which allowed Colby to go on an 8-2 run to pull within 17-14. Hutch got back on track with a Nelson kill, which led to the Lady Dragons capturing 8 of the match’s final 12 points with seven points coming on kills by Haley, Nelson, Dickson and Wade with a solo stuff by Rushton added in.
The Lady Dragons will have the weekend off before taking Pratt at 6:30 p.m. next Wednesday at the Sports Arena in a Jayhawk West showdown.
MATCH NOTES – The victory helped first-year coach Patrick Hall even is all-time record at 127-127. … This was the first regular-season victory over Colby since 2009. HCC did defeat the Trojans in the postseason last year in the Region VI Tournament loser’s bracket final. … The Lady Dragons have won 15-straight home openers. … Teresa Wade had three of Hutchinson’s four service aces. … HCC’s four team blocks were a season low.
(HCC Sports Information)