CASPER, Wyo. – Blinn College volleyball just couldn't maintain enough momentum to keep its hopes of a third straight national championship alive as College of Southern Idaho fought for a 3-0 sweep of the Buccaneers in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Division I National Tournament Thursday night inside the Casper Event Center.
When it comes to the national tournament, Southern Idaho is a familiar foe for Blinn as the Buccaneers beat Southern Idaho a year ago in the semifinals at nationals en route to a second consecutive national championship. Southern Idaho repaid the favor this year with a sweep by the score 25-21, 25-17 and 27-25.
Blinn did earn a trip to the quarterfinals earlier in the day after beating College of Central Florida in the first round 3-2 by the score 25-23, 23-25, 25-15, 20-25 and 15-8. After splitting the pair of the games, the Buccaneers hold a 30-11 record and will be playing for pride and fifth place in the consolation bracket.
Blinn had a tough time gaining any momentum in the first set as Southern Idaho jumped out to a 13-9 lead and the Buccaneers were unable to tie the game as Southern Idaho won the first 25-21. The second set was the most difficult as Blinn fell behind 2-0 in sets after falling 25-17 in the second.
The Buccaneers did show signs off fight in the third set by jumping out to a 4-1 lead as points went back and forth. Blinn was on the verge of forcing a fourth set after Abolanle Onipede delivered a kill for a 25-24 lead but that would be the final Blinn point as Southern Idaho scored three straight for a trip to the semifinals with the sweep.
The first match of the day was much more of a roller coaster as Blinn jumped out to a 15-10 lead after a kill from Mitchell. The lead would go back and forth but Keamo sealed the first set with a kill for the 25-23 victory. Central Florida leveled the match with a 25-23 victory in the second.
The third set was the most impressive set of the day for Blinn as it held a 20-12 lead and cruised to a 25-15 victory in the third after a kill from Danusia Borgeaud. Central Florida came right back to force a fifth set with a 25-20 victory in the fourth.
Blinn regained control of the match in the fifth by grabbing a 12-6 lead and then Gaia Gbola closed out the match with a kill.
Mitchell led Blinn in kills with 15 while Alexis Kingston finished with 14 against Central Florida. Onipede finished with 12 kills and Darby Mussulman chipped in with 10 kills. Keamo earned 56 assists while Teets earned 13 digs in the victory.
Blinn will begin play in the consolation bracket Friday, Nov. 20 against Iowa Western Community College at 3:30 p.m.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 32 NJCAA national championships since 1987. For more information, visit www.buccaneersports.com.
About Blinn College
With an enrollment of 19,422 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. For more information, visit www.blinn.edu.