By STEVE CARPENTER - Hutchinson CC Sports Information
Last season the Hutchinson Community College volleyball team defeated then-No. 10 Indian Hills in a five-set thriller in the Blue Dragon Classic at the Sports Arena.
The first nine rallies of Friday's 2021 rematch sure looked like the Warriors had revenge on their mind with four kills and three blocks leading to an 8-1 Indian Hills lead.
Led by sophomore Jenna Thorne and freshmen Shadee Briggs and Shelby Murrell, the Blue Dragons rallied to defeat Indian Hills in four sets, 23-25, 25-19, 26-24, 25-17 to move to 2-0 on Day 1 of the Blue Dragon Classic. Hutchinson earlier in the day swept Central Community College.
The Blue Dragons are now 9-5 after their season-high fourth-straight victory. Hutchinson will play Mineral Area at 11:30 a.m. and Jefferson College at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday to close out the Blue Dragon Classic.
Thorne reached 20 kills in a match for the second time this season and posted her 10th double-double of the season to lead the Blue Dragons. She had 20 kills on 50 attacks and hit .300 to lead the Blue Dragons. Thorne had no less than four kills in each set. She added 15 digs and three service aces.
Briggs finished with 14 kills with four block assists and an ace. She hit .113.
Murrell hit a season-high .500 with a season-high 10 kills on 20 attacks and now errors. She also had a season-high nine 10 total blocks as Hutchinson had a 15-8 block advantage on Indian Hills in the match.
Setter Chloe Price had a big match with 45 set assists to go with four block assists, three kills two aces and 10 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. Libero Shelby Reeder had 25 digs in the match.
Precious Dailey had 16 kills and Jenna Vallee had 11 kills to lead the Warriors, who were 0-2 on Day 1 of the Blue Dragon Classic. Indian Hills also dropped a tight three-set match to No. 14 Missouri State-West Plains earlier in the game.
Indian Hills came out fast and led 8-1 out of the chute. The Blue Dragons immediately responded with a six-point Kristina Head service run – Head had a season-high four service aces and has aces in three-straight matches – to pull the Blue Dragon with 8-7. The Blue Dragons tied the set at 12-all on a Briggs kill. Hutch took a short-lived lead at 15-14 after a Price/Head double block. Tied at 18, the Warriors produced kills on 6 of their next 7 points and closed out the set on a Cassia Lemos setter dump on set point. Each team had 14 kills in the opening set, but the Warriors out-blocked the Dragons 4-1.
The Blue Dragons got their block going in the second set with five team blocks. The Dragons had three early stuff blocks in building an early 8-6 lead. A Briggs kill then sparked a run of eight-straight Hutchinson points. Briggs' ace topped the run and Hutch led 16-6. Murrell got a kill to make it 19-8 Hutchison. The Warriors scored 5 of the next 6 points to pull within 20-13, but the Dragons got back-to-back double blocks from Taegen Larsen and Murrell and Larsen and Head to take a 22-13 lead. Thorne and Briggs had four kills each while Murrell and Larsen had four blocks assists each as Hutchinson tied the match at a set each after a 25-19 win in the second set.
The Dragons built an 11-6 lead in the third set when Indian Hills' Dailey started to come to life. She had six kills in the third set – 12 of her 16 kills game in the middle two sets. She terminated on back-to-back swings to pull the Warriors within 12-9. A 6-1 Indian Hills run tied the set at 12 after a Lemos service ace. Tied at 16, the Warriors committed two of their eight attack errors and Price dropped a setter dump for a 19-16 Dragon lead. With Hutchinson leading 21-18, the Warriors scored 6 of the next 8 points and had set point at 24-23. The Dragons fought off that set point with a Warrior service error. Hutch closed the set with an Indian Hills attack error and Thorne service ace.
Hutchinson built a 7-1 lead to start the fourth set and never looked back. Briggs had a kill to make it 11-4 before Indian Hills scored four straight and 8 of the next 11 points to pull within 14-12. Murrell then sparks a 7-0 Hutchinson run with two kills and two blocks. The Dragons quickly built a 21-12 lead. The final three Dragon points were a Myracle Lettries solo block, a Head/Briggs combo block and a Briggs kill on match point.