No. 19 Blinn College volleyball sweeps North Lake in home opener, 3-0

BRENHAM, Texas — No. 19 Blinn College volleyball (5-0) swept North Lake College, 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-23) in Wednesday night's home opener at the Kruse Center.

"The crowd was really great and a big positive tonight," said Terry Gamble, Blinn head coach. "It is nice to get the win in front of a packed house. Our middles have been great this season and if we follow Essence Clerkley, we are good, and I would like to see everyone match her intensity."

Clerkley led Blinn with three block assists and was second on the team with 10 kills, while Guilia Hortelan led with 14 kills.

On defense, Hortelan led with 14 digs, while Mullins and Kya Yanez each chipped in 12 digs apiece. In addition, Jenni Liu recorded 42 assists and Chloe Mullins led Blinn with three aces.

"It is exciting to finally be playing at home and living my dream, so this is surreal for me right now," Clerkley said. "We pulled it together when we needed to pull it together to get the win tonight."

In the first set, the Buccaneers jumped out to a 9-3 lead and held onto the momentum for the remainder of the set. Clerkley teamed up for blocks with Paige Havel and Liu to keep the Buccaneers ahead 21-14. Havel delivered the final kill needed for the 25-19 victory for Blinn to lead the match 1-0.

In the second set, the Buccaneers took off with another quick 10-4 lead. Mullins delivered two straight aces to keep Blinn ahead 17-9 and Clerkley finished the Blazers off with back-to-back kills for the 25-18 win.

Blinn and North Lake rotated the lead in the early part of the third set until the Buccaneers took off on a 6-3 run led by Hortelan with four kills. North Lake fought back to work its way to a 21-18 lead until the Buccaneers went on a five-point run led by Tamia Hall with two kills and Chloe Mullins with an ace. North Lake tied the game back up 23-23, but a kill by Clerkley pulled Blinn back ahead and an error on the Blazers allowed the Buccaneers to seal the 25-23 win for the sweep.

Next, the Buccaneers will host Laredo College on Thursday, August 29, at 6 p.m. in the Kruse Center.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 41 NJCAA national championships since 1987.