Elena Takova had a team-high nine kills in a four-set loss to No. 11 Seward County on Wednesday at the Sports Arena. (Casey Bailey/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Elena Takova had a team-high nine kills in a four-set loss to No. 11 Seward County on Wednesday at the Sports Arena. (Casey Bailey/Blue Dragon Sports Information)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

The Hutchinson Community College Volleyball team hit better than .300 in a dominant first set over No. 11 Seward County on Wednesday Night at the Sports Arena.

The Blue Dragons wound up hitting just .109 the rest of the way and the first meeting of the season between the reigning Region VI champion Dragons and Jayhawk West champion Saints went to Seward County in four sets.

The Blue Dragons, who fell out of the NJCAA rankings earlier on Wednesday, fell 25-12, 19-25, 16-25, 14-25 to fall to 3-4 overall and 2-1 in the Jayhawk West. Seward County improves to 5-2 overall and 3-0 in the West. Hutchinson plays next on Monday against Dodge City at 6:30 p.m. in the Sports Arena.

In contrast, Seward County hit .030 in the first set, but cranked things up in sets 2, 3 and 4 with .339 hitting.

Sophomore Elena Takova had nine kills on 21 swings (.190 attack percent) to lead the Blue Dragons, who finished the match hitting .109 to Seward's .268.

Freshman Eden Hiebert finished with seven kills on .121 hitting with eight digs and two block assists. Freshman Tara Davis added a season-high six kills, hitting .500, with a service ace and four block assists. Freshman Lauren Willson came off the bench to provide a spark with five kills on .238 hitting.

Sophomore setter Payton Gawith had her first career double-double with 12 assists and a career-best 11 digs. Sophomore Cassidy Crites added 11 assists and five digs.

Sophomore libero Raychel Reed had a team-high 19 digs.

The Blue Dragons couldn't slow down the three-pronged attack of Giovanna Tapigliani, Luz Sierra and Djuly Schmorantz. Those three players combined for 47 of Seward County's 57 total kills.

The Blue Dragons were out-blocked 5-4.

Set 1: Leading 4-2, a Davis-Hiebert double block sparked a 6-0 Blue Dragon run. After a Hiebert ace and Saints' attack error, the Blue Dragons led 10-2. A Davis ace serve and Saints' attack error upped the Dragon lead to 14-4. The lead grew to 12 at 19-7 on a Crites ace serve. Leading 22-12, the Saints misfired on a serve and attack error and was called in the net on set point to give the Dragons a 25-12 lead. Hutch out-hit Seward County .316-.030 in the opening set.

Set 2: Back-to-back Reed ace serves gave Hutch an early 3-2 lead and a perfectly place Davis tip gave the Dragons a 4-3 lead. The Saints' high-powered offense then woke up with a 10-2 run that included six unanswered points. After one of Hutch's nine attack errors in the second set, the Dragons trailed 13-6. The Dragons chipped away and got within 15-11 after a Hiebert kill. Hutch trailed 18-15 after a Davis/Willson double block and within 21-19 after a Takova solo block and Saint attack error. After a Seward County, Tapigliani slammed down three-straight kills and Hutch had an attack error on set point to knot the match at 1-1. Seward out-hit Hutch .250-.020 in the second set.

Set 3: The Saints that their best offense set in the third with .452 hitting and siding out 15 of 16 times. Hutch hit .100 in the set. The Dragons trailed 11-5. A Sierra/Topanga Johnson double block put Hutch in a deeper hole at 17-9. The only run of points for Hutch in the third came on back-to-back kills from Takova and Davis that cut Seward's lead to 23-15.

Set 4: Seward County jumped out to a 6-1 lead, but Hutch scored the next four on kills from Davis and Hiebert, a Gawith ace and double block from Crites and Davis to pull within 6-5. That was the last major push for Hutch in the match. Seward took command with a 6-1 run to lead 12-6 after a Sierra kill on an over-dig. The Saints steadily pulled away. Back-to-back Crites kills pulled the Dragons within 22-14, but Seward closed out the match winning the final three rallies. Seward outhit Hutch .353-.133 in the fourth set.