WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The top-ranked Blinn Buccaneers took one more step towards their second title in four years with an impressive four-set win (27-25, 25-17, 18-25, 25-22) over No. 4 seed San Jacinto-Central at the NJCAA National Volleyball Championship Friday evening.
With the win, the Bucs (37-0) advance to Saturday’s championship match vs. No. 3 seed Western Wyoming Community College, who defeated No. 2 seed Western Nebraska Community College in four sets in the other semi-final match of the evening.
It was the third time this season that the Bucs defeated the Ravens.
“The first two games we controlled, but lost our composure and focus a little in game three,” said Blinn head coach David Rehr. “It wasn’t pretty in game four in the beginning, but we calmed down midway through and found a way to win.”
The Bucs were led once again by sophomore setter Jackie Gerig (Normal, IL), who finished the game with 51 assists, 14 digs and one block. Sophomore outside hitter Shelby Dickson (A&M Consolidated), led the Bucs with 18 kills, followed by freshman Ksenia Sukhareva (Moscow, Russia) with 14. Sophomore defensive specialists Kalli Mukulik (Flatonia) and Paige Hamilton (Smithson Valley) finished with 25 and 16 digs respectively on the night. Sophomore outside hitter Chelsea Soto (Weimar), sophomore middle blocker Courtni Bauer (Pottsboro) and Alexander each led the way with 4 blocks apiece.
According to Rehr, there’s not much to do to prepare the team for this final challenge.
“It’s like cramming for a test – if you don’t know it by now, you don’t know it at all,” Rehr said. “It just comes down to coming out tomorrow and playing and executing.”
This marks the second time the Buccaneers have played for the title in the past four years. In 2008, the Bucs defeated the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith in a thrilling five set battle for the program’s first national championship in volleyball.
Game time for the championship match is 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and will once again be available to view live on your computer at NJCAA TV and psblive.com.
More information on the national championship including match-ups and game results is available at www.njcaavbd1.com or www.buccaneersports.com.