BRENHAM, Texas – Blinn College volleyball was able to overcome a sluggish start in the opening set to come back and win three straight sets for a 3-1 victory over Monroe College in the Premier Tournament Thursday night at Brenham High School.
The struggle didn't last long for the Buccaneers in beating Monroe by the score 22-25, 25-21, 25-17 and 25-22. With the win, Blinn improves to 6-5 overall and remains 1-0 in Region XIV play.
"I think my kids played a little nervous, especially at the start," said Kalie Mader, Blinn head coach. "But I am proud of them for maybe not playing their best volleyball but grinding it out and getting the win."
Alexis Kingston helped in the turnaround in earning nine kills and 19 digs as the Buccaneers were strong on both offense and defense after the first set.
"We started out pretty rough but we were able to find the fire and the reason that we spend all of those long hours in the gym," Kingston said. "I am extremely proud of our team."
The first set was pretty tight as Blinn held a 17-14 lead after an ace from Kingston but it was Monroe stealing the momentum down the stretch. Monroe built a streak of three and five straight points to take a 23-19 lead. The Buccaneers fought to within 23-22 with a service ace from Paola Maria Salas Adorno but Monroe closed out the first set 25-22.
The second set didn't start out too well for Blinn as Monroe held leads of 5-1 and 12-6 to begin the set. The Buccaneers were able to slowly chip away at the lead and tie the game at 17-17 after an ace from Kingston. Blinn controlled the momentum for the final points as Kayla Valigura and Kingston teamed up for a block to seal the second set 25-21.
Blinn continued the momentum in the third set with an 8-3 lead after a kill from Kingston. That lead ballooned out to 17-11 with a kill from Amina Olajuwon. The third set turned out to be the best set for Blinn as the Buccaneers sealed the set after a Monroe mistake to win 25-17 to take a 2-1 lead in sets.
Fighting for its life, Monroe came out and grabbed a 7-2 lead to open the fourth. The slow started didn't deter Blinn as the Buccaneers fought all the way back to take a 15-13 lead. The most devastating run was five points for Blinn capped by a kill from Traylor for a 20-15. Monroe kept it close but Blinn was able to close out the match and win 25-22 in the fourth.
Blinn will continue in the Premier Tournament on Friday, Sept. 9 with two more matches. The Buccaneers will begin with Frank Phillips College at 3 p.m. and then face Polk State College at 6 p.m. at Brenham High School.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 34 NJCAA national championships since 1987. For more information, visit www.buccaneersports.com.
About Blinn College
With an enrollment of 19,370 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.