DRAGON VOLLEYBALL DRAWS 15 SEED, IOWA WESTERN FOR NJCAA TOURNAMENT

Nina Pevic and the Blue Dragon Volleyball Team are the No. 15 seed for the NJCAA Tournament Novemer 16-18 at the Sports Arena. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Nina Pevic and the Blue Dragon Volleyball Team are the No. 15 seed for the NJCAA Tournament Novemer 16-18 at the Sports Arena. (Allie Schweizer/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
NJCAA DIVISION I VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

November 16-18 at the Hutchinson Sports Arena

Opening-Round Pairings
Thursday, November 19
9 a.m. – No. 14 Eastern Arizona (22-8) vs. No. 3 Southern Idaho (28-3)
9 a.m. – No. 11 Laramie County (32-6) vs. No. 6 Mineral Area (34-0)
11 a.m. – No. 15 Hutchinson (27-12) vs. No. 2 Iowa Western (37-1)
11 a.m. – No. 10 St. Petersburg (17-5) vs. No. 7 Tyler (19-9)
1 p.m. – No. 16 Wallace State (34-8) vs. No. 1 Miami-Dade (30-0)
1 p.m. – No. 9 Polk State (17-8) vs. No. 8 Panola (25-6)
3 p.m. – No. 13 New Mexico Military (28-11) vs. No. 4 Western Nebraska (32-6)
3 p.m. – No. 12 Monroe (20-9) vs. No. 5 Hill (26-1)

NJCAA DIVISION I VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT WEB SITE

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

The 2017 Region VI Champion Hutchinson Community College Volleyball Team learned its first-round NJCAA Tournament matchup will be a regular-season rematch.

The Blue Dragons (27-12) was the 15th overall seed for the upcoming NJCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Tournament starting November 16 at the Sports Arena. Hutchinson will meet No. 2-seed Iowa Western (37-1) in an opening-round match at 11 a.m.

Hutchinson will be making its 10th NJCAA Tournament appearance, the first since 2015 when it finished ninth in the nation. Hutch's opening-round match-up in 2015 was Iowa Western.

Earlier this season at the Midwest Superstore/Blue Dragon Volleyball Classic, also at the Sports Arena, the Blue Dragons and Reivers played a classic five-set thriller. Iowa Western won 22-25, 27-25, 14-25, 25-23, 15-10.

The other half of Hutchinson's quarterbracket as No. 10 seeded St. Petersburg College and No. 7 Tyler, which is coached by former Blue Dragon All-American player and later assistant coach Brandi Hood.

Hutchinson earned a berth in the 2017 national tournament after a thrilling 3-0 victory (25-23, 26-24, 30-28) over No. 3 Seward County in the Region VI championship match.

The Blue Dragons have played seven teams in the 2017 tournament field, posting a record of 2-6 against the field. The Dragons have played No. 2 Iowa Western, No. 3 Southern Idaho, No. 7 Tyler, No. 8 Panola, No. 12 Monroe, No. 12 New Mexico Military and No. 14 Eastern Arizona this season. The Dragons have victories over Tyler and Monroe.

The No. 15 seed is the seventh nationals appearance in which the Blue Dragons will be the lower-seeded team in the opening round. Under head coach Patrick Hall, the Blue Dragons have been seeded No. 10 in 2012, No. 14 in 2013, No. 15 in 2014 and No. 13 in 2015.

The Blue Dragons are 1-5 in opening-round matches as a higher seed, but the one victory is arguably the program's biggest win in its history. Hutchinson was seeded 12th entering the 2006 national tournament in West Plains, Mo., and played defending national champion and fifth-seed Miami Dade. The Blue Dragons won a five-set thriller with the Sharks 30-23, 20-20, 29-31, 21-30, 18-16.

That match was also Hutchinson's last opening-round victory at the national tournament. The Dragons have lost six consecutive opening-round matches at the national tournament.

HCC's highest national seed was No. 2 seed in 2004. HCC was the No. 5 seed in 2005, No. 12 seed in both 2006 and 2008 and No. 8 seed in 2009.

Miami-Dade (30-0), Iowa Western (37-1), Southern Idaho (28-3) and Western Nebraska (32-6) are the top four national seed for the 2017 tournament.