Hutchison volleyball

Hutchison middle blocker Jayda Russell goes up for a block in the Hawks game against Lathrop on Tuesday night. 

The Hutchison High School volleyball team opened its season on Tuesday at home with a four set 25-19, 26-24, 25-17, 25-15 win over the Lathrop Malemutes.

Hawks libero Bri Majors put up a dominant 26 dig performance and the four sets were highlighted with battles between the 5-foot-9-inch senior and Lathrop’s TT Tagovailoa, who led her team in kills.

“Bri was digging balls left and right,” Hutchison head coach David Halbrooks said. “She was getting down, she was getting low and she was getting those balls picked back up.”

“I was just reading the shoulders of the hitters really well,” the libero said. “My blockers were definitely getting up and closing the block and I could really read that.”

Middle blocker Allyonna Mandregan led the Hawks in three categories with 14 attacks, 10 kills and five blocks. Also recording five blocks was right side Sydney Scott.

Hutchison got off to a slow start in the first set, allowing Lathrop to take an early 8-14 lead before gelling defensively and scoring nine straight points to take a 17-14 advantage and finish out the set strong.

The Hawks carried their momentum into the second set, taking an 8-3 lead before the Malemutes began to claw their way back. Hutchison miscommunication and an out of bounds error gave Lathrop two straight points to tie the set 14-14.

“We just stopped talking,” Majors said about the Hawks struggles for the rest of the set. “Honestly, we lost our energy.”

The Hawks regained their lead but missed three consecutive set points, allowing the Malemutes to tie the set 24-24 and score two more points, one of which came on an ace from Tagovailoa to take the set.

“They picked up their serve, they picked up their play, they were just matching us one for one and it was just weathering the storm as best we can ... but it is all about righting the ship,” Halbrooks said about the set.

“You can’t be expected, especially against a team like Lathrop,

to win every time because they’re definitely a great team.”

Hutchison won the last two sets easily.

Lathrop next plays on the road at Eielson at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The Hawks begin action again at the West Valley Invitational from Sept. 6-7. West Valley, Lathrop, North Pole, Valdez, Bartlett, Palmer, South Barrow and Monroe will be attending the invitational along with a handful of teams from Anchorage.

“We will have our work cut out,” Halbrooks said about the teams the Hawks will face next week.

“I always tell the girls … don’t go worry about what someone else is doing on their side of the net. Let’s play our game, let’s adjust where we can adjust and let’s play our game.”

Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMsports.