By Adam Kolb / Co-Sports Editor
Six different Hutchinson Community College players scored goals and the Blue Dragons stayed right in the thick of the Jayhawk West title chase on Saturday night at the Salthawk Sports Complex.
Sophomores Naomi Waithira and Syeria Matthias and freshman Samantha Vaughn each recorded a goal and an assist to lead the Blue Dragons. Waithira has 29 career assists, which moves her into a fourth-place tie on Hutchinson’s career assist list with Chelsea Myers.
Blue Dragon goalkeeper Chiara Soergel posted her 11th shutout of the season, which ties her for eighth on the Blue Dragon single-season goalkeeper wins’ list.
Samantha Vaughn scored the only goal of the second half and has moved into 11th on the Blue Dragon freshman goals list. She has a team-high 14 goals on the season.
Hutchinson heads into the final week of the regular season with a road trip to Pratt on Wednesday and a potential battle for the Jayhawk West title against Cloud County next Saturday at the Salthawk Sports Complex.
Football – The No. 4 Blue Dragons rolled to a 49-7 Jayhawk Conference victory over Coffeyville on Saturday at Gowans Stadium. The Blue Dragons rebounded from an upset loss at Highland, which ended its run at No.1 in the NJCAA Rankings at five weeks.
The Blue Dragons scored on three of their first four possessions and jumped into a 21-0 lead just 12 seconds into the second quarter. Coffeyville answered back with a four-play scoring drive that cut into the Blue Dragon lead, but it wasn’t enough.
Hutchinson racked up 512 offensive yards with a season-high 307 yards on the ground. Sophomore Erin Collins had a season-high 99 rush yards on 15 carries with a 2-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Mark Wright finished with 41 yards on five carries and completed 15 of 23 passes for 171 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
The Blue Dragons improve to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the Jayhawk Conference. The Dragons improve their outright lead in the KJCCC to a full game over Garden City. Coffeyville sees a two-game winning streak end and falls to 2-6 and 1-4 in the KJCCC.
Volleyball – The volleyball team dropped a pair of matches on Friday on the opening day of the Grizzly Invitational at the West Plains Civic Center in West Plains, Missouri. The Blue Dragons opened the day with a five-set loss to Jefferson College, 25-20, 25-23, 25-18, 25-18, 15-7. Hutch then lost to Tyler 25-21, 25-19, 29-27.
Against Jefferson, freshman Jenna Thorne had a career-high 18 kills and hit .389. Freshman Katelyn Elstun had 16 kills and had her fourth double-double of the season with 19 digs. Sophomore Eboni Sapien had her second double-double of the season with a season-high 31 assists and 10 digs, while freshman libero Alissa Bautista registered a career-best 30 digs.
Against Tyler, Camila Espejo led Hutchinson with 11 kills. Eden Hieber and Jenna Thorne had seven kills each and Elstun had six kills with 10 digs. Eboni Sapien finished with 22 assists and nine digs. Lainey Robertson had 13 assists. Hutchinson fell to 0-2 against Tyler this season.
Men’s cross country – Coach Justin Riggs was looking for another runner to step in for national champion Andrew Kibet on Saturday at the FHSU Tiger Open.
Freshman Teagan Flanagan was that runner.
Flanagan and sophomore teammate Sylvestre Kibarer both placed in the top 10 and lead the No. 4 ranked Blue Dragons to a runner-up finish at the Sand Plum Nature Trail course in Victoria.
Flanagan earned his first career top 10 finish and earned a spot in the Blue Dragon all-time top 20 for 8,000 meters. Flanagan ran a career best time of 25 minutes, 31.9 seconds to place sixth overall. That time is the 18th best time in Blue Dragon history at 8,000 meters.
Sophomore Brett Hillabrand was 14th overall with a time of 26:19:7, his second best time of 2019, while freshman Austin Lorenzo ran a season’s best mark of 26:39:7 to finish 19th overall.
Hutchinson will now have two weeks to prepare for the Region 6 Cross Country Championship on October 26 in Iola.
Women’s cross country – Sophomores Sheila Too and Gabby Collins both placed in the top eight to pace the women’s cross country team to a runner-up finish at the Fort Hays State Tiger Open on Saturday at Sand Plum Nature Trail.
The 19th ranked Blue Dragons scored 111 points, finishing behind only St. Mary’s University, which scored 54 points. Five of the six Blue Dragon runners posted seasons 5,000 meter best times on Saturday at the usually fast Sand Plum Nature Trail course.
Collins posted her best time and placing of 2019 on Saturday. She finished seventh with a time of 19:46:5, her fourth career sub-20 minute time.
Hutchinson will now prepare for the Region 6 Cross Country Championship on October 26 in Iola.