Blinn Collects 30th Straight Win With Sweep Of Wharton County

Blinn Collects 30th Straight Win With Sweep Of Wharton County

The Blinn College volleyball team needed just over an hour to dismiss Region XIV foe Wharton County Junior College on Wednesday night, picking up a 25-18, 25-12, 25-18 home victory inside the Kruse Center.

The triumph kept the Buccaneers perfect in region play and also handed Blinn (31-1, 12-0 Region XIV) its 30th straight victory. The Bucs have not lost a match since Aug. 20.

“It’s a lot of pressure because we’re Blinn, and now we’re everybody’s big game,” sophomore Charde Van Zandt said. “Everyone wants to beat us, and it’s a lot of pressure; we just have to know that we are Blinn and we carry that on our shoulders with a lot of pride.”

Wharton County (15, 5-7) gave the Bucs its best shot, putting together a late first-set surge to pull within 21-17 before Van Zandt got Blinn back on track with one of her team-high 13 kills.

Van Zandt later finished the set with another kill to put the Bucs up one set to none.

In the second set, Blinn was forced to rally out of a 6-5 deficit, using a 9-0 run to take a 14-6 lead. Van Zandt chipped in four kills during the move, while sophomore Reagan Casey added a block to start the run and another to keep it going two points later.

A Pioneer violation finished the second set in favor of Blinn.

In the final set, Van Zandt knocked down a nifty tip kill, followed by a hard kill from sophomore Jayde Shelton and a third kill from Guilia Hortelan to help the hosts build a quick 4-0 edge.

Wharton rallied and pulled within 7-5 on a series of kills, and the set was still close midway through at 15-11, but consecutive Pioneer errors combined with another Van Zandt kill gave the Bucs temporary breathing room.

One last Wharton surge had the visitors within 20-16 and 22-18 before Blinn put the match away with a kill from Shelton and a block and a kill from Casey on back-to-back volleys.

Blinn head coach Terry Gamble said he was pleased to get the victory, but said he saw some mistakes from his team he wants cleaned up during the season’s final two weeks.

“There’s a lot of mistakes we shouldn’t be making, but I’m really happy with the win and loved the crowd tonight,” Gamble said. “I thought the crowd – especially at the end – kept us up.”

Following Van Zandt’s solid hitting night was Shelton, who registered 12 kills, and Casey, who added nine. Ashley Taylor added six.

Sophomore Savannah Sebek and freshman Lina Ellila kept the offensive moving with 28 and 10 set assists respectively, and Hortelan had the Bucs’ lone service ace.

Defensively, sophomore Lixai Perez led Blinn with 13 digs, followed by seven each from Hortelan and Sebek. Casey had four block assists and Horteland and Shelton had two each.

Blinn has four region matches left (at Trinity Valley, at Panola, at Coastal Bend, and home against Lee).

“I think this is one of the top two regions in the country,” Gamble said. “We were talking the other day about how five of the teams in our conference were in the top 20 in the country. So, every night you have to play your best and tonight is a good example.”

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.

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