CONCORDIA – Sophomore Gabby Rushton hit a career-high .667 on seven kills to lead the Hutchinson Community College volleyball team to its fourth-straight Jayhawk West victory on Wednesday night at the Thunderdome with a 3-0 victory over the Thunderbirds.
The Lady Dragons posted their fifth sweep of the season with a 25-15, 25-23, 25-14 victory, their fourth straight and first Jayhawk West win on the road.
Hutchinson (6-2, 4-0 Jayhawk West) hit better than .300 as a team for the fourth time with 31 kills and only eight attack errors on 75 total swings. HCC tied a conference-match high with nine team blocks, out-blocking Cloud County 9-2.
Rushton had a team-high seven kills and only one attack error on nine swings. Rushton also had two total blocks and one service ace.
Sophomore Jade Nelson finished hitting .417 with six kills. It’s the third time this season Nelson has hit better than .400. Freshman Megan Heier had five kills and hit .400. She added a season-high six total blocks (2 solo, 4 assists). Sophomore Shayne Haley had four kills and nine errors on nine swings.
Sophomore setter Scout Heizer had 15 assists and five digs, while sophomore Ashlyn Westerman had 10 assists, six digs and two service aces. Freshman libero Samantha Lackey had a team-high 11 digs.
Sophomore outside hitter Erin Terrell had 12 kills to lead the Thunderbirds (2-8, 0-3).
HCC and Cloud County played a tight first set for the first half of the set. Cloud County led 10-9 on a Terrell kill, but back-to-back tips by Teresa Wade and Haley helped HCC score three straight to lead 12-10. At 13-12, HCC took control, going on a 12-3 run to close the set. The first seven were scored on a Westerman service run that pushed the lead to 20-12. Hutchinson didn’t have an attack error in the first set, hitting .462 on 12 kills/26 swings, taking the first set 25-15.
The second set started the same way, but HCC wasn’t able to put on a late run and pull away. Hitting .250 in the set, HCC built a 16-12 lead after back-to-back double blocks by Nelson and Heier and Heier and Mariah Dickson. Cloud County continually went to Terrell. She had kills to tie the set at 18- and 21-all. At 23-23, Cloud County had the serve to gain a set point, but one of 13 service errors gave HCC the set point and then a T-Bird attack error gave Hutchinson the set and a 2-0 match lead.
Errors continued to mount for the Thunderbirds in the third set. HCC jumped out to a 7-1 lead. Other than a Nelson kill, all the HCC points came on Cloud errors. Leading 9-5, Rushton had a kill and two blocks during a 5-0 run to lead 14-5. A Nelson kill, a Helena Lukovic service ace and a Rushton kill pushed the lead to 19-8. Cloud County’s 16th attack errors of the match came on set point to close out a Hutchinson victory that took 1 hour, 2 minutes.
Hutchinson will play four matches, including matches against nationally ranked Western Nebraska and Northeastern Junior College in the NJC/Pizza Hut Classic on Friday and Saturday at Sterling, Colo. HCC is on the road next Wednesday at Garden City before returning home for the Lady Dragon Volleyball Classic at the Sports Arena.
(HCC Sports Information)