GREAT BEND – The Hutchinson Community College volleyball team tried to pull off the comeback of all comebacks on Wednesday night against first-place and 19th-ranked Barton Community College.
The comeback fell a scant two points short.
After falling behind by two sets, the Lady Dragons rallied to force a decisive fifth set. Then down 10-3 in the fifth, the Lady Dragons fought off five match points before Barton ended the comeback attempt to defeat the Lady Dragons 3-2 in a Jayhawk West matchup at the Barton Gym.
Barton remained perfect in the Jayhawk West with a 25-20, 28-26, 23-25, 17-25, 15-13 victory over the Lady Dragons.
“There was a lot of victory there,” HCC head coach Sarah Myers said. “The last couple of matches we have really been playing stronger and stronger. Now is when you want to do it. I was proud of the way that the girls came out and they stayed strong. Barton is a great team and I was very proud with the way our girls played.”
Sophomore middle blocker Cassie Wiley tied a career high kill total and freshman setter Hayley Young posted her first career triple-double to lead the Lady Dragons (10-17, 6-4 Jayhawk West).
Wiley had a team-high 14 kills and hit a .444. Young had a career-high 11 kills on .384 hitting to go along with her 38 assists and 13 digs. Sophomore Jordan Rehm posted her seventh double-double of the season with 10 kills and a career-high 22 digs. Freshman Jade Nelson had seven kills and hit .333.
The Lady Dragons hit .202 as a team with 12 team blocks. Wiley had six blocks and freshman Shayne Haley had five, including three solo stuffs. Freshman libero Paige Forrester had 20 digs.
It took a monumental effort by Barton middle blocker Paula da Silva to hold off the Lady Dragons. She had 31 kills to lead the Cougars, including seven kills in the fifth set. Gabriella Olivera had 15 kills.
“They didn’t panic and played relaxed,” Myers said. “That’s a huge step for us in the right direction. Every point Barton won, they had to earn. We didn’t give it to them.”
Hutchinson continually battled from behind throughout the match. After a first set filled with attack and service errors, the Lady Dragons started to minimize their mistakes and began to pass and block better throughout the match.
Despite nine attack errors and four service errors in the opening set, HCC stayed close after falling behind 14-8. Still down 18-12, Wiley sparked the Lady Dragons with a big kill on a Barton overpass. A Rehm kill capped a 4-1 run to pull the Lady Dragons within 19-17. Olivera stopped the Hutch run with a kill and da Silva’s fourth kill of the set came on set point to close it out for the Cougars.
Where HCC mistakes were the story of the first set, da Silva was the story in the second set. The Barton middle blocker had 10 kills the second. HCC fought off three set points before Barton ended it on a da Silva kill to take a 2-0 lead. HCC took a 7-4 lead on a Young dump, but he Cougars clawed back to take a 13-9 lead. HCC reeled off four in a row to tie the set at 13-13. Kills by Haley, Rehm and Wiley forced ties at 21-, 22, 23- and 24-all. With Barton leading 26-25, Young got her third kill of the set to tie it at 26-all, but an attack error and a da Silva kill on the final two points gave Barton a 2-0 lead.
HCC trailed Barton 17-14 in the third set, but HCC scored 4 of the next five points to tie the set at 18-all. Back-to-back kills by Wiley, who had four kills and a block in the third set, gave Hutchinson a 20-18 lead. Barton rallied to it the set at 23-all after a da Silva kill, but a Rehm kill and a double block by Wiley and Rehm clinched the first set HCC has taken from Barton this season.
Hutchinson’s fourth set victory was sparked by Young’s setter dumps and four HCC blocks, two from Haley on da Silva. HCC lead 14-10, and thought it let 15-10, but an overrule by the officials reversed a point and the score as actually 14-11. Barton tied it at 14-all on Ashley Archer’s second-straight service ace, but Nelson got a crucial sideout for HCC with a kill. Tied at 15-all, the Lady Dragons outscored Barton 10-2 over the rest of the set, getting kills from Rehm, Young and Emily Oberlin to finish off the set.
The fifth set had a nightmarish start for HCC. Da Silva was dominant with four kills by the crossover point and after Taylor Arnold’s kill, Barton led 10-3. HCC had one last comeback left in it. Down 14-8, the Lady Dragons fought off five match points, getting kills from Oberlin and Nelson and a Young service ace to wipe out five match points and pull the Lady Dragons to the brink of a stellar comeback at 14-13.
On the sixth match point, da Silva pounded down her 31st kill of the match to stop an improbable Lady Dragon rally two points short of completion.
Hutchinson will play host to Colby at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Sports Arena in another Jayhawk West showdown.
MATCH NOTES – HCC is now 2-5 in five-set matches this season. … In team history, HCC has rallied from 2-0 down two win a match only once. … Cassie Wiley also had 14 kills in the 2011 season opener, a five-set victory over South Mountain.