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Dragons Drop Opening Weekend Finale to NJC

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McCOOK, Nebraska (bluedragonsports.com) – Sophomore Taniya Golden had a team-high 16 kills, but the No. 19-ranked Hutchinson Community College volleyball team closed out the McCook Invitational on a down note with a 3-0 loss to No. 12 Northeastern Junior College on Saturday.

The Blue Dragons dropped to 2-2 after a 25-21, 25-11, 25-23 loss to the Plainswomen.

Hutchinson opens the 2023 home schedule on Wednesday with the Bethel College JV at 3 p.m. and the Kansas Wesleyan JV at 7 p.m. at the Sports Arena.

The Plainswomen continually kept the Blue Dragons off balance with a strong serve and powerful attack. NJC out-hit Hutchinson 44-28 in kills

After Golden’s 16 kills, Callie MuffAshlyn Long and Anna Dean had three kills each.

Freshman setter Shelbi Wilson with 12 assists. Sophomore Giovanna Ravanhani had 11 assists.

Freshman libero Isabella Rollandini had 10 digs to lead the Dragons. Alondra Velez had six digs. Velez and Wilson had two aces each. Dean had a team-high four block assists. McKenzie Murphy had three block assists.

SET 1: The Blue Dragons jumped out to an early 5-1 lead after a Velez ace. Golden had a kill for a 7-4 lead and Muff added a kill for an 11-10 lead. Velez had her second ace of the set for a 15-14 lead. NJC then went on a 7-3 run to take a 22-18 lead. Down 23-19, the Dragons pulled within two after a Gabriella Panzetta kill and a Dean/Wilson double block to pull within 23-21. NJC had kills on the final two rallies to close out the set, 25-21.

SET 2: The Blue Dragons trailed 7-5 when the set got away from the. Northeastern reeled off nine consecutive points to lead 16-5. NJC had 11 kills to Hutchinson’s five in the second set. Golden had a pair kills and a block assists, but the Plainswomen rolled to an 25-11 win for a 2-0 match lead.

SET 3: NJC started hot with leads of 3-0, 7-2, 9-3 and 15-5. But the Blue Dragons mounted a comeback, winning 11 of the next 14 rallies. Dean and Ravanhani teamed up for a double block to pull within 18-16. Golden hammered down an NJCAA over-dig for a kill to pull within 20-18. A Panzetta/Muff double block cut the deficit to one at 21-20. A Rollandini over-dig fell on the NJC side of net to pull with 22-21 and the Dragons tied the set at 22-all with a Golden ace serve. NJC got a pair of kills and a block on the final three rallies to close out the match.

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