STERLING, Colo. – The Hutchinson Community College volleyball team had to fight off five set points in two different sets late Friday night to rally and defeat a scrappy Otero Junior College team in the Lady Dragons’ second match of the NJC/Pizza Hut Classic.
Earlier in the day, HCC nearly pulled off a dramatic rally in the first set against No. 4 Western Nebraska, but fell short in a 3-0 sweep to the Cougars, 25-22, 25-15, 25-11.
Late Friday night, Hutchinson dropped the first set to Otero, but fought off two set points in the second and three more in the fourth to defeat the Rattlers 23-25, 26-24, 25-22, 27-25.
The Lady Dragons (7-3) will close out the Pizza Hut Classic on Saturday with matches against No. 19 Northeastern Junior College and Lamar Community College.
Freshman Teresa Wade had 15 kills and sophomore Jade Nelson added 11 as the Lady Dragons battled from behind all night and battled through their own play at times in a four-set victory over the Rattlers.
In the first set, HCC came back from 15-11 down to tie the set at 19-all. But two attack errors and a service error put HCC behind the eight-ball as Otero closed out the set with three-straight kills to win 25-21.
The Rattlers had a 24-22 second-set lead when libero Taylor Karcher placed a back-row attack in the back corner for a kill. HCC then reeled off three straight after that, getting a big defensive play at 23-24 to tie the set and then kills from Megan Heier and Nelson to tie the match after a 26-24 victory.
Sophomore Kayla Karmazyn had three big kills in the third set at HCC finally pulled away late in building a 24-18 lead. Otero scored three straight before an attack error gave HCC the set and a 2-1 lead.
Hutchinson trailed 5-1, 12-10 and 17-13 in the fourth set before a Wade service ace tied the set at 18-all. The Lady Dragons were down 24-22 when back-to-back kills by Wade tied the set. Down 25-24, a Heier kill erased a third Otero set point. HCC then finished off the Rattlers with back-to-back blocks by Heier to win 27-25.
HCC had 13 team blocks in the match.
Sophomore Shayne Haley finished with seven kills, while Heier and Karmazyn had five kills each. Setter Scout Heizer had 24 assists, while Ashlyn Westerman had 16. Karcher had a team-high 16 digs and Samantha Lackey had 13 digs.
Hutchinson trailed powerful fourth-ranked Western Nebraska by 10 points in the first set and brought it all the way back to 24-22 before a service error ended the rally. Still, HCC head coach Patrick Hall called it the “best we’ve played all season.”
The Cougars had little trouble in the second and third sets in administering a sweep the first sweep against Hutchinson this season.
Nelson led all Hutchinson hitters with six kills. Freshman Mariah Dickson hit .625 with five kills on eight attacks and no errors. Lackey had 13 digs to lead HCC.
(HCC Sports Information)