Buccaneers win Region XIV Tournament opener

BAYTOWN, Texas – The ninth-ranked Blinn Buccaneers have advanced to the winner's bracket of the Region XIV Volleyball Tournament.

Blinn defeated Paris Junior College 25-22, 25-19, 13-25, 25-19 in a first-round match here Thursday to advance to the winner's half of the bracket. Blinn will now face the winner of today's Tyler-Wharton match in a quarterfinal match at 2 p.m. Friday. That match will be broadcast live online at PSNsports.com.

"Games 1, 2 and 4 were exactly how we have to play to win the regional tournament," Blinn (24-5) coach Erin Mellinger said. "We're doing what we need to, we just have to be more consistent from game to game."

Three Buccaneers posted double-digit kill totals as freshman middle blocker Bruna Evangelista posted a match-high 14 kills and fellow freshmen Emily Salter and Tyanna Roy each tallied 12.

Freshman setter Crystal Young was outstanding for the Buccaneers, not only spreading the ball evenly among the Buccaneer hitters on her way to 37 kills, but chipping in defensively with nine digs.

"She did a really good job distributing the ball," Mellinger said. "We just have to mix it up, and when we mix it up the blockers don't know where to go."

Sophomore libero Cara Fisher led the Bucs with 16 digs while Tori Estrada had 14 and Roy added 10.

"Cara was absolutely solid the whole match," Mellinger said.

The Buccaneers hit .216 for the match while holding Paris to a .140 hitting percentage. Blinn committed just seven errors in each of the first two sets, but struggled in Game 3, committing 17 errors.

The Bucs righted the ship in Game 4, taking the lead early on their way to finishing off the match.

Sophomore Katie Poole led Paris (21-11) with 12 kills and 11 digs. The Lady Dragons had been ranked as high as 15th this season.