Council Bluffs, IA (Nov. 16, 2007) - Ninth-seeded Blinn College held off a strong rally by fourth-seeded University of Arkansas Fort Smith to win a thrilling five-game match 26-30, 30-25, 30-21, 17-30, 15-9 to advance to the fifth-place match at the 2007 National Junior College Athletic Association Women's Volleyball Championships. The match will take place on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Blinn (34-4) will face a familiar foe in 10th-seeded San Jacinto College (30-12) in that fifth place match. Arkansas Fort Smith (39-6) will face off against host Iowa Western Community College (57-5), who lost earlier in the day to San Jacinto, in the seventh place match at noon.
"In that fourth game, they did not come through at all," said Blinn Head Coach David Rehr about the way his team played in the fourth game. "But, that's what it's like coaching young women. (In the end), it was heart that helped us come back in the fifth game. It was all a team effort."
Two players had double-doubles for the Buccaneers in the match. Sophomore outside hitters Hayley Ball had 19 kills and 15 digs, while Sabrina Daniel recorded 17 kills and 25 digs. Two other Blinn players also helped out on offense, as sophomore middle blockers Lina Vanegas had 17 kills and Stefanie Robbins added 11. Sophomore setter Caroline Witte also scored a double double, as she distributed 53 assists to her hitters, while also picking up 14 digs. Sophomore libero Sydney Milburn led all players with 35 digs.
Sophomore right side hitter Hanna Valli was the story for Arkansas Fort Smith, as she led all players with 29 kills. Sophomore outside hitters Leslie Riepl and Brittany Hunt each added nine kills, and freshman setter Lucia Najselova dished out 43 assists. On defense, sophomore libero Heather Bowman came up strong, getting 26 assists.
The NJCAA Division I Tournament Championships continue on Friday, November 16 and end on Saturday, November 17 with the championship match scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Matches begin on Saturday at 10 a.m.