Depth leads Buccaneers past Wharton

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WHARTON, Texas -- The depth of the Blinn College volleyball team continues to dig deeper.

Rebecca Reeve, Rachel Sharp and Kariana Castanon-Hill combined for 30 kills and the Buccaneers swept Wharton County Junior College 25-16, 25-22, 25-14 here Wednesday night.

“Those three were studly tonight,” coach Erin Mellinger said.
In 53 attempts, the trio had only three errors and combined for a .523 hitting percentage. Castanon-Hill and Sharp each posted 11 kills, while Reeve added another eight and a team-best .615 hitting percentage. Their play couldn't have come at a better night as sophomore Bruna Evangelista, the Bucs' leading offensive player, had her struggles.

The Bucs’ depth improved from there.

Sophomore Evely Macedo found her serving stroke and “served Wharton off the floor,” Mellinger said. Macedo had four aces in 19 attempts, as well as six digs.

“She went off tonight,” the second-year head coach said.

Blinn (25-2, 7-1) finished the first set strong after starting the game flat, but Wharton found some momentum in the second set and took a 15-10 lead before the Bucs began to find some rhythm. After two Wharton timeouts, Blinn found exactly that and captured the set 25-22.
Then came their depth again.

Mellinger opted to put in Crystal Hembree, a freshman from Spring, in the third set, and Hembree didn’t disappoint in her appearance.
While Hembree had one kill in two attempts, Mellinger said that Hembree “gave us a different look and different feel on the court. She looked good in the third set.”

The Bucs fell out of the No. 1 ranking in the latest NJCAA poll released today and into the No. 2 spot behind Region XIV foe Tyler Junior College. Blinn will get its chance at the newly-ranked No. 1 Lady Apaches Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Blinn P.E. Building.
Blinn returns home Friday night at 6 p.m. against Lee College, then hosts 14th-ranked San Jacinto at 6 p.m. next Wednesday to close out its regular season.

“We’ve got some tough games ahead,” Mellinger said.

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