BRENHAM, Texas — No. 20 Blinn College volleyball (4-3) stepped onto its new home court in the Kruse Center for the first time this season to compete in the Kruse Kickoff Klassic opener and walked off with two home victories on Friday.
The Buccaneers opened the tournament with a 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-17) win over Victoria College and continued to have success against Temple College with a 3-0 win (25-14, 25-20, 25-4) to finish the day.
"The girls were excited to play in front of our home crowd and it's nice to open the tournament with these two victories," said Terry Gamble, Blinn head coach. "Our setters did a great job of getting our middles enough balls and I was really happy with our defense. Overall we had a lot of energy and our kids played hard."
Blinn 3 – Victoria 0
Sophomore outside hitter Shelby Sheets recorded 16 kills to help lead Blinn to a 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-17) win over Victoria to open the tournament.
"It was exciting to be playing in the Kruse Center for the first time and the energy was really high today," Sheets said. "I have to give a lot of credit to our setters because we were really able to run our middles and our middles were able to put every ball away that we could."
Freshman Taylor Henderson recorded a .889 hitting percentage and delivered eight kills. Sophomore setter Roxanne Morris led Blinn with 19 assists, while sophomore setter Samantha Boatman posted 16 assists in the match.
Blinn attacked early for a 9-3 lead in the first set. Sheets and Morris combined for four kills for the Buccaneers to gain a 19-9 lead. Back-to-back kills by Morris and freshman Jasmine McLemore closed out the opening set, 25-12.
Sheets delivered five kills and an ace to leadoff the second set and give Blinn a 10-3 cushion. Victoria gained on Blinn 19-11, but Henderson recorded a block and kill for the Buccaneers to lead 23-12. Morris recorded the final kill for Blinn for the Buccaneers to win the second set, 25-16.
Blinn and Victoria exchanged points in the third set until the Buccaneers grabbed hold of an 8-7 lead and held onto it for good. McLemore recorded the final two kills needed for Blinn to close out the match, 25-17, for the sweep.
Blinn 3 – Temple 0
Blinn finished the first day of the tournament with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-4) victory over Temple College.
Sheets led the offense with 16 kills and nine aces. She also joined Savannah Gibbs for the most digs in the match as they came up with 10 each. Boatman led the Buccaneers with 18 assists, while Henderson posted the highest hitting percentage (.583) after recording eight kills.
Blinn jumped out with a 2-0 lead in the match after taking down Temple in the first two sets 25-14 and 25-20. The momentum rolled into the third set where the Buccaneers played their best set of the day for a 25-4 win.
Blinn College volleyball will play two games on Saturday, Sept. 1, to wrap up the Kruse Kickoff Klassic, facing Brookhaven College at 12:30 p.m. and Illinois Central College at 5:30 p.m.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 38 NJCAA national championships since 1987.