BAYTOWN, Texas – The Buccaneers didn't need to win the region tournament to make nationals and didn't even need to win the first match. With all that, Blinn College still fought through a tough match to beat Tyler Junior College 3-2 in a marathon match Nov. 9 in Baytown.
The Buccaneers edged Tyler by the score of 18-25, 25-22, 28-26, 23-25 and 15-13 to claim the 2014 Region XIV championship at Lee College.
"That match was definitely a challenge and it gave us some things that we need to work on," said head coach Erin Mellinger.
After a lackluster first set for Blinn, the Buccaneers took control of the momentum in the middle of the second set. A big reason for the improvement was the serve-receive and that enabled the Buccaneers to get more into their offensive sets.
Getting their blocks going was a huge key for Blinn as they earned a total of 14 blocks, one of its best blocking games of the season.
Trinity Alualu led the Buccaneers with 15 kills and picked up 12 digs and two block-assists. Rebecca Reeve earned 14 kills in the win with 12 digs and two block assists while Tawnee Luafalemana also had 14 kills and a .235 hitting percentage and seven blocks. Rachel Sharp also hit double figures in kills with 11 and had five blocks. Jordyn Keamo had a load of assists in the five-set match as she compiled 55 assists in the win.
Mellinger also said that the play of Rebecca Proske was huge throughout the match and especially in the fifth set when she came up with a couple of digs that really helped the team.
Keamo, Reeve and Alualu were named to the all-tournament team while Reeve captured the most valuable player of the tournament as well.
Alualu, Keamo, Abolanle Onipede and Luafalemana were named to the all-conference first team. Alyssa LaMont was named to the second team all-conference and Sharp was placed on the honorable mention list. Keamo was named setter of the year in conference as well.
"I am very proud of this group and we are honored to be representing the conference in the national tournament," Mellinger said.
The national tournament will be played Nov. 20-22 in Casper, Wyo., and brackets will be released soon for the tournament.
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.