The Buccaneers used a 25-16, 25-15, 25-14 win to improve to 18-4 on the season.

“We got through the night and did some nice things, and it was a good win,” Blinn head coach Terry Gamble said. “We had a bit of a slow start early, which has been our M.O. all year, but we regrouped and came back and went on a nice run, which was great to see.”

The Buccaneers started the night by finding itself in a 5-1 deficit early in the first set but fought back with an 11-1 run to take control. Back-to-back kills from freshman hitter LaNeah Lara and another from freshman hitter Zuzia Rut had the hosts in control at 12-6.

DuPage pulled within 15-12, but Blinn reeled off a 10-4 run to seal the set, capped by a kill from freshman hitter ​​Bojana Marojevikj.

The Bucs again fell behind in the second set as the Chaparrals grabbed a 2-0 edge, but after the two teams battled to a 4-4 tie, freshman hitter Don’Yah Cosie spiked a kill off a DuPage defender’s hands to put Blinn ahead to stay.

“We had a slow start at first, but I think we did a really good job of picking ourselves up and maintaining a high energy throughout the game,” said Lara, who led her team with 13 kills. “I think consistency led us through this match, and it came down to us reminding each other that we’re here to play hard and we’re here to win.”

In the final set of the night, it was Blinn who raced out to a lead, surging ahead 5-0 on kills from freshman Taylor Glendening and sophomore Kierslynn Wright, as well as a pair of DuPage violations and a service ace from Glendening. 

Though the Chaparrals showed some fight in the middle part of the set and came as close as 20-14, Blinn finished the sweep on a 5-0 burst. Tandem blocks from Glendening, Lara, and freshman Kaylen Kruse put the Bucs on the brink, and an ace from Kruse and a kill from Lara ended the match.

Wright finished with 10 kills, pushing her NJCAA Division I-leading total to 305 on the year. Lara now has 241, good for third in the nation as of Thursday night.

Glendening, Cosie, and Marojevikj had four kills apiece. Freshman setter Darby Nash supported Blinn’s hitters with 32 set assists and Wright was stellar from the service line with six aces.

Defensively, sophomore libero Ellie Turner had 18 digs and Wright chipped in 15. Nash and freshman libero Emily Hardee had nine and seven digs, respectively.

(Pictured: Blinn College’s Emily Hardee, center, receives a serve against College of DuPage on Thursday)

“Today was a team effort,” Hardee said. “Every play matters and every person matters; if any one of us is struggling or makes a mistake, we pick that person up and we support each other no matter what.”

The Bucs resume tournament play Friday with a tilt against Dallas College-Brookhaven at 11 a.m. and a matchup against Dallas College-Eastfield at 5 p.m. at the Kruse Center. 

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

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