Blinn Splits Opening Day Of NJCAA Division I Volleyball Championship

Blinn Splits Opening Day Of NJCAA Division I Volleyball Championship

The top-seeded Buccaneers defeated 16th-seeded Hill College 25-16, 25-15, 25-13 in the opening round of the tournament before falling to defending national champion and eighth-seeded Iowa Western 32-30, 25-19, 25-17 in the quarterfinals.

Blinn moved to 39-2 overall and saw its 37-match winning streak come to an end. 

“I thought the kids played hard all day,” Blinn head coach Terry Gamble said. “We didn’t make plays tonight and you can’t do that against a good team.”

The Buccaneers are in the national competition for the second consecutive season after placing fifth in the spring. Their tournament run continues Friday, Nov. 19, against fourth-seeded Florida SouthWestern at 2:30 p.m.

Blinn 3, Hill 0

In their afternoon tournament opener, sophomore hitter Jayde Shelton led the Buccaneers with a 20-kill performance. Sophomore hitter Charde Van Zandt added 11 kills. 

Blinn’s offensive attack was made possible by a strong performance from sophomore setter Savannah Sebek, who finished with 38 set assists. Sebek and fellow sophomore Lixai Perez chipped in one service ace apiece.

Defensively, Perez and sophomore Guilia Hortelan registered 12 and 11 digs, respectively. At the net, Shelton and sophomore Ashley Taylor picked up one solo block each, and Taylor and sophomore Reagan Casey added a pair of block assists apiece. 

Iowa Western 3, Blinn 0

The 2020 defending national champions emerged victorious over the Buccaneers in a hard-fought quarterfinal tilt Thursday night.

Shelton again led the way on offense for Blinn, tallying 13 kills while Casey provided 11. Sebek again played well from the setter position with 30 assists.

On defense, sophomores Kyndal Coufal and Emily Smajstria collected 12 digs apiece. Sebek and Perez followed with nine each and Hortelan added eight. Sebek and Casey each recorded two block assists.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987. For more information, visit www.buccaneersports.com.