By Bailey Pennycuff / Co-Sports Editor

The Hutchinson Community College volleyball team’s hitting percentage is .192%. On Sept. 11, freshman Katelyn Elstun hit .422% against Pratt.

Throughout the match, Elston earned 24 kills out of her 45 swings, as well as 24 digs.

With statistics as impressive as these, it would be difficult to not be a proud coach.

“That’s pretty outstanding, I’ll take that,” HutchCC coach Patrick Hall said. “Only five errors in five sets – looking at the percentage, I would take .280%. She was at a .422%. That’s a good number, especially for an outside (hitter) in a match.”

Statistically, it is rare to see an outside hitter getting into the .400’s. This is mainly due to the defense that comes along with the position. Outside hitters typically face double blocks, making it harder to earn a kill.

“We’re not going to be able to do that every night, Pratt wasn’t the biggest block in the world,” Hall said.

Not only that, but the volleyball team has faced other adversities as well. However, the Blue Dragons aim not to look at them as setbacks.

“We will have had 12 matches in 14 days. That’s going to be a challenge for us, physically and mentally,” Hall said. “We’ll face a lot of really good teams, so that should be fun for us to play really good ball like that back-to-back, and hopefully it keeps us moving forward.”

Many athletes face hardship when handling the transition from high school to college. Elstun, a freshman from Overland Park, however, is not one of those athletes.

“It’s been good to have people who make me push myself because in high school, I really didn’t have that. It’s good to have competitive players around me,” Elstun said. “You never really go into a game thinking it’s going to be a breeze like you do in high school because every team is good.”

Besides her impressive statistics, Elstun also shines in other ways.

“Katelyn’s one of those players you just wish you had more of, a lot of times, just in terms of her court presence,” Hall said.

Elstun’s vigor emotions do not allow for the team to think negatively, even if someone may have made a mistake.

“This team’s been really good about when we’re playing in a good match, and they get down, we don’t seem to lose our intensity. They seem up for those challenges, I hope that continues,” Hall said.

Leadership qualities are obvious from Elstun, and Hall said he believes the energy she brings to the floor is contagious to her teammates.

“Every coach is looking for that kind of player. That sort of thing rubs off on your players, whether you’re embracing that role specifically to say OK, I want to be the team leader’ or you’re just making sure that everybody realizes you’re going to play with this focus and this intensity all the time,” Hall said.

Elstun’s attitude for the Pratt match was initiated before the match even began.

“I was ready for this game, I was hype. Everytime the ball was coming at me, I was like ‘this ball is going down,’” Elstun said.

Defensively, Elstun has contributed immensely thus far in the season.

Elstun is the second Blue Dragon this season to earn KJCCC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Freshman libero Alissa Bautista earned the award three weeks ago.

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