Buccaneers lock up spot at Nationals with sweep over Tyler Junior College, 3-0

BAYTOWN, Texas – There were no nerves or jitters evident for Blinn College in the second day of the 2014 Region XIV Tournament. The Buccaneers took both of its games in the tournament today by just focusing on one match at a time and it worked to perfection.

To avoid an extremely long road through the consolation bracket, Blinn first had to beat Panola College and it earned the 3-0 sweep in the morning at Lee College on Nov. 8. Following the Panola match, the Buccaneers focused on Tyler Junior College and didn't even allow Tyler a single set in the 3-0 sweep to punch a ticket to nationals.

Blinn College swept Panola by the score of 25-18, 25-17 and 25-16. The Buccaneers then swept Tyler 25-20, 25-21 and 25-20 all in the same day.

"We played well all day and did a good job," said Blinn head coach Erin Mellinger. "I am so proud of them and we are going to nationals."

Blinn had a game plan for Panola and a game plan for Tyler and worked both of those plans to perfection. Mellinger said that she thinks that the sophomores on the team learned their lesson from last year when the Buccaneers lost in the second round and had to fight their way through a grueling test in the consolation bracket. Blinn still won the regional tournament last year but it now has an easier path to winning the tournament in 2014.

Against Panola, Trinity Alualu had a solid match with nine kills and a .250 hitting percentage. She also added three aces and nine digs in the win. Rebecca Reeve led the Buccaneers with 12 kills, eight digs and a .357 hitting percentage. Abolanle Onipede also reached double figures in kills with 10 and a .363 hitting percentage.

Tawnee Luafalemana added eight kills against Panola with a strong hitting percentage of .400. Setter Jordyn Keamo was able to dish out 38 assists with eight digs and five kills in the win.

Against Tyler, Reeve had a solid match with 14 kills and a .322 hitting percentage. Luafalemana nearly hit double-digits in kills with nine kills and a .368 hitting percentage. Rachel Sharp had four kills and a .363 hitting percentage and three digs. Keamo had another strong match setting up the ball with 33 assists against Tyler and three digs.

"I think overall that we are getting better continuously," Mellinger said. "The girls are peaking at the right moment and they have met their goals up to this point."

Blinn will play for the regional championship Nov. 9 at 3 p.m.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 29 NJCAA national championships since 1987. For more information, visit www.buccaneersports.com.


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 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.