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 November 15, 2012

HCC Sports Information

WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The No. 17 Hutchinson Community College volleyball team couldn’t overcome 46 unforced errors on Thursday as seventh-seed North Idaho College swept the Lady Dragons 25-20, 25-15, 25-19 in the opening round of the NJCAA Division I Volleyball Championship at the West Plains Civic Center.

The 10th-seeded Lady Dragons (27-9) will play 15th seed Wallace State (33-7) at 10 a.m. on Friday in an elimination match. HCC will have to win two matches to advance to Saturday and place in a sixth-straight nationals appearance.

“The bottom line is that you can’t make 14, 15, 16 unforced errors at nationals and expect to compete,” first-year Lady Dragon coach Patrick Hall said. “Those kinds of errors cost you. They are deflating for your team. You have to be able to control them here.”

Hutchinson, which dropped its third-straight national tournament opener dating back to 2008, suffered 14 unforced errors in the opening set and 16 in each of the second and third sets. North Idaho (26-5) had only 18 unforced errors.

North Idaho (26-5) out-hit Hutchinson 33-28 and out-blocked the Lady Dragons 5-3. The Cardinals had eight service aces to HCC’s three.

“I knew we were trying, but we weren’t executing like we needed to,” sophomore setter Scout Heizer said. “Once the other team got ahead of us, we got into our own heads.”

Added freshman hitter Teresa Wade: “We got to thinking about it too much. We would think one thing and do another thing wrong. That was most of it. They hit shots really well.”

Wade led the Lady Dragons with nine kills, hitting .304. Sophomore Shayne Haley had seven kills.

Heizer finished with 12 assists and eight digs. Ashlyn Westerman had 11 assists and 13 digs. Freshman libero Samantha Lackey had a team-high 15 digs.

North Idaho ran a diverse attack with its middles. Yang Yang had 13 kills and an ace to lead the Cardinals. Kaitlyn Malloy had nine kills and five total blocks.

“I wasn’t expecting some of what they ran,” Lackey said. “It was hard to adjust to the block where they were going to hit.”

North Idaho jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first set, but the Lady Dragons settled in with an 8-3 run to tie it at 10-10 after a Haley service ace. An Oberlin kill on an overpass later tied the set at 15-all when the Cardinals went on a 6-0 run to lead 21-15 after back-to-back stuff blocks by Malloy. Four-straight points, three by kills from Haley, Mariah Dickson and Wade, pulled HCC within 21-19. At 22-20, the Cardinals pulled off three in a row to close out the set. Haley got off to a great start for the Lady Dragons with five kills in the set.

Leading 8-7 in the second set, North Idaho went on a 5-1 run to lead 13-8 and force Hall to call a timeout. It wasn’t until 15-9 in the second when HCC scored its first block of the match on a double-block by Gabby Rushton and Jade Nelson. HCC continued to be bit by unforced errors. Hutchinson had just six kills in the second set. North Iadho’s Yang had five on her own.

Yang continued to pound away at HCC in the third set with six kills, but HCC had the early advantage at 7-6 after a Rushton kill. North Idaho went on a 4-1 run to lead 10-8 with Yang putting down two kills. HCC tried to rally with a Lackey service ace and stuff blocks by Oberlin and Nelson to pull within 13-12.  But Yang started a 3-0 run to give North Idaho a 16-12 lead. The Lady Dragons never recovered.

“We saw too much tentative play today.” Hall said. “We made some plays as well as you can do them. Our passing was pretty good. I was pleased with our passing, but why we didn’t get the ball to the middle, I don’t know why we didn’t’ make it happen today. It was about the error potential.”

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