No. 7 Blinn Moves On To Region XIV Championship Game

No. 7 Blinn Moves On To Region XIV Championship Game

ATHENS, Texas — The No. 7 Blinn College volleyball team is moving on to the NJCAA Region XIV Volleyball Championship game after sweeping Victoria College and Trinity Valley Community College in the Cardinal Gym Thursday. 

The Buccaneers opened the Region XIV tournament with a sweep over Victoria, 3-0 (25-20, 25-13, 25-14). Then, the Buccaneers swept Trinity Valley in the semifinals, 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-15). 

“In the match against Trinity Valley, we played really well,” head coach Terry Gamble said. “I thought our blocking defense was good. The team played well, and I am proud of them.” 

With the pair of wins the Buccaneers are now 23-1 overall. Blinn will face off against Tyler Junior College on Friday, April 2, at 5 p.m. in the Cardinal Gym for the Region XIV championship. 

Blinn 3 – Victoria 0 

The Buccaneers opened the tournament with a sweep over Victoria, 3-0 (25-20, 25-13, 25-14). 

“In our match against Victoria we started off a little bit unfocused and made some mental mistakes,” Gamble said. “We got better as the match went on. I thought Victoria played well against us.” 

Chard’e Vanzandt led the Buccaneers on offense with a .615 hitting percentage and matched her season-high with 18 kills. Jayde Shelton followed with 10 kills and Essence Clerkley contributed seven. Loren Scott led Blinn with 36 assists.  

Lixai Perez Velez led the Buccaneers with 18 digs, while Kyndal CoufalTatum Smidovec and Emily Smajstrla each had 10. Ashley Taylor and Vanzandt led Blinn with two block assists apiece. 

Taylor, Vanzandt, and Clerkley each put up kills in the first set for the Buccaneers to take a 10-8 lead. Victoria eventually caught the Buccaneers to tie the game 15-15, but Vanzandt led Blinn with two kills on an 8-2 run. Blinn held onto the lead until a 25-20 win.  

In the second set, Vanzandt recorded back-to-back kills for Blinn to lead 8-5. Taylor came up with two straight kills and a block assist for the Buccaneers to pull ahead 16-6. Shelton’s kill kept Blinn on top 20-11 and Vanzandt finished off Victoria with the two final kills of the set for the Buccaneers to win 25-13.  

In the third set, Blinn took off with a 13-8 lead. Shelton and Clerkley recorded two straight kills for the Buccaneers to expand their lead to 22-13. Blinn ended the set on a 3-0 run to win 25-14 for the sweep.  

Blinn 3 – Trinity Valley 0   

Blinn concluded the day with a sweep over Trinity Valley, 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-15). 

Shelton led Blinn with 15 kills, Coufal followed with nine, and Clerkley had eight in the match. Scott led Blinn with 37 assists and had nine digs.  

Smajstrla led the Buccaneers with 14 digs, Perez Velez followed with 12, and Savannah Sebek put up a season-high 11. Taylor led Blinn with three block assists, while Clerkley, Vanzandt, and Shelton recorded two apiece.  

In the first set, Shelton and Clerkley strung together three straight kills to put Blinn on top 12-4. Blinn extended its lead to 22-11, then Shelton jumped in for the Buccaneers’ final three points with a block, block assist, and kill for the 25-12 victory. 

After Blinn grabbed a 10-7 lead in the second set, Vanzandt and Shelton combined for the next three points. Vanzandt came up with her third kill in the set for the Buccaneers to lead 18-14. Shelton’s kill and Clerkley’s block put Blinn on top 24-17, and an error on Trinity Valley allowed the Buccaneers to win 25-17.  

Blinn took off with a 13-7 lead in the third set and held onto it for good. Clerkley put up two kills to keep Blinn on top 18-9. The Buccaneers ended the set on a 3-2 run for the 25-15 victory and the sweep. 

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