Buccaneer volleyball extends season-opening win streak to 10

ODESSA, Texas – The top-ranked Blinn College volleyball team extended its season-opening win streak to 10 matches here Saturday with a pair of wins at the Wrangler Classic.

The defending national champions defeated Vernon College 25-17, 25-12, 25-12, then swept tournament host Odessa College 25-8, 25-23, 25-23.

Sophomore Rachel Sharp led the way in the opener against Vernon, posting a match-high 11 kills with no errors for a .611 hitting percentage. Freshman Justus Tuiolosega dished out 24 assists and posted three aces, and freshman Tawnee Luafalemana made her mark both offensively and defensively, finishing with seven kills and seven blocks.

It was Trinity Alualu's turn to lead the way against Odessa, as she posted 12 kills and 13 digs and hit .440 for the match.

"Everybody's picking up the slack," coach Erin Mellinger said. "If one person isn't playing well for a game, someone else comes in and puts up great numbers. I'm proud of this group."

Freshman setter Jordyn Keamo posted a double-double with 19 assists and 15 digs, and sophomore Rebecca Reeve added 12 kills with a .363 hitting percentage. Sophomore Alyssa LaMont added 13 digs.

"It was kind of an up-and-down match," Mellinger said. "After we won the first set, we just made too many errors and lost focus. But then we tuned back in and focused again and we were able to finish strong."

The Buccaneers will conclude tournament play tomorrow when they face Coastal Bend College at 9 a.m. and Midland College at 1 p.m. On Monday, Mellinger and the Buccaneer sophomores will appear on KWHI 1280-AM's "Sports Line" talk show at 5:35 p.m. to discuss the season's opening weeks. The show will be streamed online at www.kwhi.com