No. 7 Blinn Downs No. 9 Navarro To Move On To Nationals

No. 7 Blinn Downs No. 9 Navarro To Move On To Nationals

With the win, the Buccaneers will advance to the NJCAA Division I Volleyball Championship in West Plains, Mo., April 15-17, for the first time since 2015. The Buccaneers will enter the tournament with a 24-2 record 

“I am excited for the team and for Blinn College,” head coach Terry Gamble said. “In set five, our blocking and defense was phenomenal, so it was nice to see us play through not playing so well at the beginning. As far as the comeback goes, all of that credit goes to the girls, their preservice, and having the desire to not quit.”  

Lixai Perez Velez and Chard’e Vanzandt were named to the all-tournament team. Perez Velez totaled 89 digs, while Vanzandt totaled 54 kills, in 14 sets. 

“We played really hard, played as a team, and we enjoyed the game,” Perez Velez said. “I am extremely excited and happy to get to keep playing with my girls. In the fifth set, we made adjustments, and everyone did their job to get the win.”

On defense, Ashley Taylor recorded a season-high 15 block assists and one block. Shelton had eight block assists, while Scott had seven. 

“Ashley was incredible on blocking today and was in on 16 of our 19 blocks, and that is just unheard of,” Gamble said.  

Jayde Shelton led the Buccaneers with 20 kills, while Vanzandt followed with 14. Loren Scott led with 47 assists.  

“Today’s matched showed our character, really showed that we are a unit when we need to be, and that we all weren’t ready to stop playing.” Vanzandt said. “We knew we deserved to go to nationals because we have worked hard from the first day, so letting it slip away from us was just not an option today.” 

Perez Velez led the match with 27 digs, while Kyndal Coufal had 13 and Savannah Sebek had 12.  

After falling behind in the match 2-1 and trailing in the fourth set 14-12, the Buccaneers rallied for six straight points and rode the wave of momentum to a 25-19 victory. Blinn capped of the match with a 15-7 victory in the fifth set. 

Earlier, Navarro opened the match with a 25-19 win. Blinn came back to even the match in the second set with a 25-16 victory. Then, the Bulldogs took back a 2-1 lead when they defeated Blinn 25-21 in the third set. However, the Buccaneers came back to win the next two sets for the win. 

“I am very excited to be moving on to nationals, and that we are able to continue our season,” Shelton said. “Throughout the match I felt like we were very enthusiastic.  As a team we truly did leave our hearts on the court, and we wanted every single ball that came our way and were very determined.” 

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