May 16, 2022

Hutch squeaking by Garden City

Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-There’s no way on earth a match between the Blue Dragons and Busters would be free of controversy. So when No. 11 Hutchinson make the two-and-a-half hour trek to Western Kansas Wednesday night, it appeared no one expected anything less. 

The Lady Dragons overcame a sloppy second set and an even worse start to the fourth-to take down Garden City 13-25, 25-21, 20-25, 22-25 at the Dennis Perryman Athletics Complex. 

“It was a great volleyball match-that’s for sure,” Hutch coach Patrick Hall said. “Unfortunately our girls came in here and took the night off, and you can’t do that against a team like that. We were just waiting for them to make errors.”

And fortunately for the Lady Dragons the Busters committed plenty; 20 of them in the final set alone. 

“Our error issue plagued us a little bit,” Garden City Head Coach Harvey Sanders said. “We just weren’t ready to play volleyball tonight.”

Maybe they weren’t ready at the start as Hutch cruised to a 12-point win in the first set. But the Busters settled down in a tremendous second frame. 

With the score knotted at 19, Busters sophomore Taylor Winchester ended a long rally by finding a crease down the middle of the Hutch defense. The ball landed just inside the line giving Garden City a 20-19 edge and a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Busters finished off the set shortly after that when Teresa Wade’s block landed out of bounds. 

“We hung with them; that’s for sure,” Sanders said. “My eyes showed me a little bit of fatigue; we weren’t really moving our feet well, and we weren’t finishing our touches.”

The third set proved to be just as competitive. But tied at 13, the Lady Dragons capitalized on several Garden City mistakes, including an error on Haley Harbour that gave Hutch a three-point advantage. The Lady Dragons then slammed the door when freshman Dominique Mays’ block sailed wide left.

“We committed 18 errors in the third set alone,” Hall said. “We were giving them points; fortunately we hung on.”

It seemed Garden City would rebound in the fourth set after they jumped out to a 7-1 lead. But after Hall called timeout, Hutch would rally to take a 12-11 edge. The frame went back and forth before the inevitable controversy finally pushed its’ way into the headlines. 

It appeared Garden City (2-11, 1-4) tied the match at 23 when Mays spike landed just inside the sideline. But the official at the net said it was wide and awarded the point to the Lady Dragons. The match would end on the next point-when the official by the scorer’s table determined the Busters were out of position. After a long discussion between Sanders and the referee, the match was over-ending what was a frustrating, final-few minutes for Garden City. 

“I’m not going to concern myself with calls,” Sanders said. “We showed plenty of restraint.”

The win, which improved Hutchinson to 5-6 on the year, snapped a five-match losing streak. 

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