Hutchinson CC Sports Information
The Hutchinson Community College volleyball team trailed every set of its Region VI Tournament opening-round match by at least four points on Tuesday night at the Sports Arena.
Led by 26 combined kills from outside hitters Camila Espejo and Katelyn Elstun and 11 total blocks, the Blue Dragons rallied in three of those four sets and eliminated the Grizzlies 25-21, 19-25, 25-20, 25-20.
Fourth-seeded Hutchinson (14-18) advances to the Region VI Tournament semifinals for the ninth-consecutive season and will meet top-seeded Seward County at Noon Sunday at the Green House in Liberal. Butler ends its season at 18-13.
With the victory, the Blue Dragons won 2 of 3 from Butler, but all three matches were extremely close.
Hutchinson's night of comebacks started when the Grizzlies led 11-7 in the first set. The Dragons scored 6 of the final seven points to capture the opening set.
The Dragons got down by as many as eight points in the second set and didn't recover from that deficit. Butler started the third set with seven unanswered points, but the Dragons won 25 of the next 38 points to win the third. Hutch then trailed 15-11 in the fourth set and rallied to take the fourth.
Espejo hit .344 on her 13 kills, taking 29 swings with three errors. Elstun hit .179 on her 13 kills. She added three block assists and an ace serve. Jenna Thorne added 11 kills on .429 hitting with six block assists and a pair of aces. No other Blue Dragon had more than three kills.
Sophomore setter Eboni Sapien had 36 assists and a pair of kills. Sophomore Eden Hiebert had three of Hutch's seven service aces. Hiebert also had 13 digs. Freshman liberal Alissa Bautista had 20 digs.
Freshman Myracle Lettries had one solo and six block assists.
Amalie Rupertova had 15 kills and Morgan Bryand had 12 to lead the Grizzlies.
SET 1: Bryand's kill gave Butler an 11-7 lead. The Dragons answered that with an 8-2 run to take a 15-11 lead after a Hiebert kill and Grizzly attack error. Butler then scored the next four for a 17-15 lead. The Dragons answered with three in a row. Elstun's ace gave Hutch an 18-17 lead. Bryand had kills for Butler leads of 19-18 and 20-19. Sapien threw down a setter dump, then Thorne and Lettries teamed up for a double block which started a 6-1 Blue Dragon run to close the set, which came on Elstun's third kill of the set.
SET 2: But grabbed an early lead in the second, but a Sapien/Jaydin Schake double block cut the Hutch deficit to 7-5. Butler went on a 7-1 run to build a 14-6 lead after a Milayna Hollinger kill. The Dragons chipped away and got within 16-12 on a Espejo kill. Rupertova had a huge second set with seven kills to keep the Dragons and arm's length. Bryand delivered three late kills to close the Blue Dragons out and tie the match.
SET 3: Butler had all the momentum and scored seven straight and 8 of 9 to start the third set. But the Grizzlies aided Hutchinson's comeback with 10 attack errors and four service errors. Trailing 9-3, the Dragons went on a 10-3 run to take a 13-12 lead on a Lettries/Elstun double block and Butler attack error. The Dragons led 19-17 after an Espejo kill and pushed out to a 22-19 lead on a Thorne kill. Leading 23-20, the Dragons took the match lead with a Thorne-Schake double block and an Elstun kill on a Butler over-dig.
SET 4: The Grizzles led 9-6 after a Rupertova ace and led 14-10 after a Bryand ace. Consecutive kills from the back row by Hiebert and Thorne started a 6-0 Hutch run. The Dragons tied the set at 15 on an out-of-system kill by Elstun. Hutch led 20-17 when Lauren Willson dropped a back-row attack right on the Butler baseline for a kill. An Elstun kill brought the match to set point, where Butler's 29th attack error of the match closed out Hutch's four-set win.