By Sammi Carpenter
The No. 2-seeded Hutchinson Blue Dragon volleyball team hosted a Region 6 Tournament opener against the seventh-seeded Dodge City Conquistadors on Nov. 1 at the Sports Arena.
The Blue Dragons were upset by Dodge City in a tight five-set opening round regional match, ending their season.
In the opening set the Blue Dragons came out strong, scoring 10 out of the first 13 points. The Conquistadors started to make a comeback, making the score 13-10. Hutchinson’s Alejandra Briseno and Anna Dean both had impressive kills to stop the Conquistadors from scoring more but they came back winning the first set 25-22.
The second set, the Blue Dragons regained control and never gave up the lead. Giovanna Ravanhani helped the Blue Dragons take the second set with some key kills and a setter dump to win the second set. The hitting percentage for the Blue Dragons was .316, and the Conquistadors hit a .189.
The Blue Dragons got a 7-1 lead to start the third set, but the Blue Dragons fell to the Conquistadors, who hit a .143 compared to Hutchinson’s .100 and ended up losing the lead at 16-15. The Conquistadors took the third set on a 7-4 run and the final score was 25-20.
McKenzie Murphy was a key factor for the Blue Dragons during the fourth set. Murphy had a career-high of 13 kills, and in the fourth set alone, she had a solo block, four block assists, and had eight kills.
The Blue Dragons never let the Conquistadors have a long run due to them siding out 75% in the fourth set. With the efforts at the net and some Conquistadors errors, the Blue Dragons forced a fifth set by winning the fourth 25-15.
The start of the fifth set did not go the Blue Dragons way because the Conquistadors took an early 7-1 lead. When the score got to 14-6 the Dragons fought back and ended up forcing the Conquistadors to have six set points, which the score ended up 14-12. The Blue Dragons ended up falling to the Conquistadors 15-12.
“The efforts up at the net were amazing,” Blue Dragons coach Delice Downing said. “Our blocking was key, it was key for us all year and we lead the country in total blocks. Scoring could have been a little better but we still put up some good numbers. A lot of girls got career highs but unfortunately in the end we fell short.”
One of the girls that got a career high was Alejandra Briseno. Briseno had 10 kills with a high of 20 digs.
“It’s nice to have good stats, especially during regionals but during the game I don’t think of things like that. My mindset is that I am gonna try to pick up everyball, I am gonna do my best with the set that is given to me and try to put the ball down,” Briseno said. “I think we did a good job at cutting the other team’s runs until the fifth set. We also did a good job adapting to their game because they were ready for what we had so we had to adapt and I think we did a good job at that. We could have been more aggressive all over the court.”
This loss ended the Dragons season at 24-15. The Blue Dragons tied with Colby for second in the Jayhawk Conference.