Hutchinson Community College's Camila Espejo goes up for a kill during a match against Butler at the Sports Arena. Photo by Bre Rogers.

Espejo leads Blue Dragons past Grizzlies

By Bailey Pennycuff / Co-Sports Editor

The Hutchinson Community College volleyball team took Butler Community College by storm Wednesday at the Sports Arena. 

Previously, when the Blue Dragons faced Butler in El Dorado, the Grizzlies won in three sets. In return however, the Blue Dragons beat them in three sets.

Freshman Camila Espejo’s 21 kills were a career high, yet she seemed completely unaffected after the match.

“I don’t even really notice the stat scoreboard during the game,” Espejo said. “I mostly just focus on playing.”

These 21 kills were on 39 attacks, earning a .487 attack percentage, leading the Blue Dragons for the night.

Throughout the second set, Espejo had nine kills – more than any Hutch player has earned in a single set. 

The win felt good for the whole team, yet coach Patrick Hall still believes his team has more potential.

“This totally describes our team – someone goes off and has a career night, and then is literally in the negatives the next. Sometimes, girls are this inconsistent even set to set,” Hall said.

Freshman Katelyn Elston is still playing sparingly because of injury. Hall said he intends to keep her in recovery mode until the playoffs where she can finally be let off her leash. 

There may have been a little good luck involved with the win. Fans may have noticed something about Hall, and some even believe it was the route of the Blue Dragons’ success. 

“I think the reason we won was probably my socks. No doubt about it, my socktorial choices definitely made a difference tonight,” Hall said.

He was wearing socks with Duke the Dragon on them, which he received from the last home match where they were given away for free.

Match summary

Set One: The Blue Dragons started the game off strong by scoring seven consecutive points. Within those seven points, the Dragons earned two aces, a kill and a block. After a couple more kills, one from freshman Jenna Thorne and freshman Jaydin Schake, Butler started to make a comeback and brought the score to 18-16.

Once it got closer to set point, the teams went back-and-forth. After a thrilling first set and, the Dragons clinched the set win 28-26.

Set Two: Butler started out hitting more consistently. In fact, the score got all the way to 19-12 before Hutch’s defense settled down. At that point, Hutch began chipping away at the comeback. Sophomore Eden Hiebert earned an ace to put the score at 23-22. Espejo then closed out the match with back-to-back kills, earning the Blue Dragon win, 25-22. This set will go on to be the only set of the night to end at a normal 25 points.Set Three: The two teams went back-and-forth for 18 points, being tied at 9-9. After a double block from freshman Morgan Armbrust and Schake, Hutch broke the tie and went on a 4-1 run. Shortly after, Hutch went on a 7-1 run to put the score at 16-10. The Grizzlies began their comeback and eventually Butler led 23-22. Moments later, the Grizzlies were up 25-24. The set point scare was ended by an Espejo kill. Hutch had two other set points that could have resulted in a win, but Butler scrapped both points. With the game tied at 27, Espejo continued her clutch hitting to earn her 21st kill of the night. The final point went to Hutch because of a double contact error by Butler. The final score of the exhilarating set was 29-27.

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