The Blue Dragon volleyball team drops a pair of matches to No. 11 Panola in four sets and New Mexico Military in three on Saturday in Roswell, NM
The Blue Dragon volleyball team drops a pair of matches to No. 11 Panola in four sets and New Mexico Military in three on Saturday in Roswell, NM

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

ROSWELL, New Mexico – The Hutchinson Community College volleyball team set a record on Saturday the Blue Dragons wish they hadn't.

And according to head coach Patrick Hall, that dubious mark was at the root of two losses to close out the NMMI Classic.

The No. 17-ranked Blue Dragons allowed a program-worst 14 service aces in a four-set loss to No. 12 Panola on Saturday morning. The Blue Dragons won the first set 25-17, but dropped the next three 12-25, 17-25, 23-25.

Then against Classic host New Mexico Military, the Blue Dragons surrendered 12 more aces in a 21-25, 16-25, 16-25 loss to the Broncos.

The Blue Dragons finished the NMMI Classic at 1-3. Hutchinson will play its 2018 home and Jayhawk West openers on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Sports Arena against the Barton Cougars.

The lack of consistent passing showed up in Hutch's offensive numbers on Saturday. Freshman Eden Hiebert led the Blue Dragons against Panola with 10 kills. The next best kill total was four. Against NMMI, Lexi Hogan had a team-high six kills and freshman Tara Davis added five.

The Blue Dragons had a solid start after a late Friday night. Not even 12 hours after a tough five-set loss to Odessa, Hutch came out strong and defeated the No. 11-ranked team in the NJCAA preseason rankings 25-17.

The Ponies quickly turned the match around in the second and dominated the next two sets before a tight battle in the final set that the Dragons came up short by two points.

Hiebert led the Blue Dragons offensively with 10 kills on 35 attacks and a .200 hitting percentage. Elena Takova and Tara Davis had four kills each.

Hutch's middles were a combined 7 for 19 with no errors, but the passing issues were the main reason why the Dragons couldn't set the middle more frequently.

Davis also had four block assists, while Takova had a solo block and two block assists.

Raychel Reed had a team-high nine digs, while Hiebert and Clara Creach had seven digs each.

Cassidy Crites had 12 set assists and Ebony Sapien had seven assists.

With their passing issues continuing into the final match of the tournament, the Blue Dragons weren't able to create a lot of offense against a defensive-minded New Mexico Military team that finished fourth in the 2017 NJCAA Tournament at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.

Hogan hit a team- and career-high .545 with six kills on 11 swings against NMMI. Davis hit .375 on five kills.

Crites had just six set assists in the match.

Reed had 12 digs, while Davis and Takova each had three block assists.