Running a 5-1 offense for the first time in her collegiate career, sophomore setter Ashlyn Westerman set a solid match for the Hutchinson Community College volleyball team in a 3-0 Jayhawk West sweep of Pratt on Wednesday night at the Sports Arena.
Westerman had a career-high 31 assists as Hutchinson defeated Pratt 25-12, 25-19, 25-17. HCC (4-2) starts the Jayhawk West season 2-0 for the second-straight season.
With fellow sophomore setter Scout Heizer not able to play on Wednesday because of illness, first-year HCC head coach Patrick Hall told Westerman she was going to run the show in a 5-1 set earlier in the day.
Westerman, who was the beneficiary of solid HCC passing throughout the match, set a balanced attack and added a pair of kills and a block assist of her own to her career assist count.
Four players had at least six kills offensively for Hutchinson.
Freshman Teresa Wade hit a .375 and had seven kills on 16 swings. Sophomore Jade Nelson had seven kills and sophomore Shayne Haley finished with seven kills and only two errors in two sets played, hitting a .333. Freshman middle Megan Heier hit a .667 with six kills and no attack errors on nine attacks.
HCC passed the ball very efficiently. Freshman libero Taylor Karcher was credited with 11-straight passes of at or near perfect. Pratt had just one ace serve against the Lady Dragons in the match.
Hall wasn’t happy with the HCC block on Wednesday night. The Lady Dragons tallied only six team blocks and didn’t get a lot of touches on balls. That didn’t help the back row pick up a lot of balls. Karcher led the team with only eight digs.
Pratt’s Kylee Pywell had nine kills to lead all hitters in the match. The Beavers fall to 4-5 overall and 1-1 in the Jayhawk West.
The Beavers scored two-straight points to tie the first set at 8-all. A kill from Wade capped a small 3-0 HCC run, but it was a sign of things to come. A Wade service ace put Hutchinson up 15-10 and prompted a Pratt timeout. A Haley kill upped the HCC run to 9-2 and a Haley tip that fell to the floor made it a 13-2 run before a Pywell kill snapped the HCC run and the Dragons led 21-11.
The Lady Dragons closed out the first set in style with a Haley stuff block, two Haley kills and a double-block by Haley and Heier to give HCC its most decisive set victory of the season.
The second set was tied at 5-all when the Lady Dragons opened some distance with a 5-1 run to make it 10-6 after back-to-back service aces by sophomore Emily Oberlin. The lead grew to four for the first time on a Wade kill to make it 14-10. Kills by sophomore Kayla Karmazyn and Heier inched the HCC lead to 20-14. A Nelson kill on set point put the Lady Dragons up 2-0 in sets.
HCC scored the first three points of the third set, but a 5-1 run capped by an Ashlie Gramke service ace pulled the Beavers back within 5-4. A Nelson kill kept Pratt from tying the set, then a Westerman kill and double-block with Westerman and Heier pushed the HCC lead to 10-6. Hutchinson continued to pull away, taking a 17-9 lead on a Wade kill. Two points later, Gabby Rushton dropped a tip for a kill and a 19-9 lead. Pratt went on a 7-3 run to make things mildly interesting, but HCC finished off its fourth sweep of the season with a Westerman kill and a Pratt error.
The Lady Dragons, who remained receiving votes in this week’s NJCAA Division I volleyball poll, will play host to Seward County at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Sports Arena.
(HCC Sports Information)