Defending national champion Buccaneers release 2012 schedule

The defending national champion Blinn College volleyball team will begin its title defense at the Tyler Junior College Tournament on Aug. 24.

The Buccaneers, who went a perfect 38-0 on their way to their second national championship in four years last season, are about to enter their first season under head coach Erin Mellinger. As an assistant coach, Mellinger helped guide CSI to a national championship in 2009 and a sixth-place finish at last season’s tournament. During her five seasons there, the team made three national tournament appearances, won two Region 18 championships and posted an overall record of 148-48.

Prior to her stint at CSI, Mellinger was the head coach at Lewis-Clark State College, an NAIA Division I program, for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. She was also the head coach at Independence (Kan.) Community College, where she led the NJCAA Division I program to a 62-21 record over two seasons, coached two All-Americans and was named the NJCAA District K coach of the year.

The Buccaneers will make their home debut at the Labor Day Classic Aug. 31-Sept. 1, a tournament that will include Trinity Valley, Western Texas, Labette and Temple.

The Buccaneers will face some of the toughest competition in the nation the following weekend at the Patriot’s Day Tournament in Spring, a showcase that will feature four of the top 20 teams in the nation last season. Blinn is scheduled to face Salt Lake Community College, Hillsborough, Gadsden (Ga.) State, and Frank Phillips College.

Blinn will begin Region XIV Conference play Sept. 18 when it travels to play Laredo College. The Region XIV Tournament, which Blinn has won each of the last three years and eight of the last nine, will be held Nov. 1-4 in Baytown. The NJCAA National Championships will be held Nov. 15-17 in West Plains, Mo.

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