CASPER, Wyo. – When it came down to it, Blinn College volleyball stuck together and overcame a talented Miami Dade squad to win the NJCAA Division I national title with a 3-1 victory in Casper, Wyo.
"Obviously this is an incredible moment but it didn't come without it's challenges," said Blinn coach Erin Mellinger. "But they got to push through and feel the way that they feel right now."
Rebecca Reeve supplied the championship-clinching kill to seal the 3-1 victory by the score 33-31, 25-16, 20-25 and 25-18 at the Casper Events Center. The 2014 championship is the second consecutive championship for Blinn College and its third in four years, and the Buccaneers finish the year with an astonishing 40-1 record.
Reeve not only delivered the championship-winning kill but was named the most valuable player of the national tournament. She finished with 25 kills and a .388 hitting percentage and 10 digs.
"It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity and for us to get it back to back is unreal," Reeve said following the match. "I am never going to forget this moment and that's for sure."
Alyssa LaMont and Abolanle Onipede were both named to the all-tournament team. Onipede had six kills in the championship match and LaMont turned in an impressive effort on defense with 16 digs in the win.
The first set was a classic. It looked as though Blinn would make it look easy as it jumped out to a 13-7 lead with a kill from Jordyn Keamo, who had 52 assists in the match. But Miami-Dade didn't go away quietly as it charged back to take a 25-24 lead.
The first set went into extra points, but it was Blinn that came up with two consecutive points as a kill from Reeve helped to clinch the first 33-31.
The Buccaneers controlled the second set as it jumped out to an 11-4 lead with back to back blocks from Luafalemana. Blinn went on to grab a 2-0 lead after a block from Onipede to win the second 25-16.
The third set was a forgettable one for Blinn as Miami-Dade won 25-20 to force a fourth set. It was a lot of back and forth in the fourth set but Blinn was able to grab a slim 15-10 lead after a block from Onipede.
Miami Dade put up a fight in the fourth but it was Blinn College coming up with the big points in the end. Reeve came up with the biggest point with the championship-winning kill to win the fourth 25-18 and win 3-1.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 30 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.