The second-ranked Blinn College volleyball team completed a perfect run through the Region XIV Conference South Zone Tuesday night with a 3-0 victory over San Jacinto College – but it wasn't nearly as easy as the score might suggest.
Blinn defeated San Jacinto 25-11, 25-23, 25-23 to improve to 32-1 on the season and finish conference play a perfect 10-0 – with perfect sweeps in all 10 matches. But it took a fierce rally to finish the Buccaneers' flawless run.
The Buccaneers fell behind early in the second set before rallying back, but nothing faced an even greater challenge in the third set, when San Jacinto leaped out to a 19-7 advantage. During a timeout, head coach Erin Mellinger told her team that if they could just get to 12 points, they could regain the momentum in time for the fourth set.
The Buccaneers had no intention of playing a fourth set.
Sophomore Rebecca Proske entered the game to serve and made three huge digs that helped swing the momentum back the Buccaneers' direction.
"That was really, really important," Mellinger said. "I'm so proud of her, I can't even tell you."
Freshman setter Jordyn Keamo followed with seven consecutive serves, tallying one ace while forcing several San Jacinto errors. By the time San Jacinto called a timeout, the Buccaneers led 21-20.
"It was amazing," Mellinger said. "We played some great defense as a team. I think it said a lot about our character and our pride not to give up."
Tawnee Luafalemana returned from injury to post a team-high 13 kills with a .600 hitting percentage, and Trinity Alualu, Rebecca Reeve and Keamo each finished with double-doubles. Alualu finished with 10 kills and a team-high 20 digs, while Reeve added 10 kills and 10 digs. Keamo finished with 19 digs and dished out 39 assists.
With the victory, the Buccaneers' win streak is now 17 games. San Jacinto fell to 18-11 on the season and 7-3 in the Region XIV South Zone.
The Buccaneers host their regular-season finale Thursday when they face Trinity Valley Community College in the Blinn P.E. Building. The match will be the team's annual Sophomore Night, and all six sophomores will be honored beforehand.
About Blinn College
Founded in 1883, Blinn is a comprehensive community college committed to educational excellence and to individual and community enhancement. With an enrollment of 19,317 students, Blinn ranks among the nation's leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for its affordable educational excellence.
As part of its commitment to student success, Blinn is implementing a Quality Enhancement Plan titled "Destination Success: First-Year Focus," which utilizes learning communities to support first-year college students.
For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.