Evangelista leads Buccaneers past Lady Cardinals

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ATHENS, Texas -- Bruna Evangelista continues to prove why she’s one of the most dominant volleyball players in the nation.
In Blinn College’s four-set win here Thursday, Evangelista posted a match-high 24 kills with a .500 hitting percentage to the lead the top-ranked Buccaneers past the Trinity Valley Lady Cardinals.
The Bucs made it 11 victories in a row with a 25-21, 23-25, 25-16, 25-22 win.

“Our serve receive was really good, and I was really pleased with our defense and middle blockers,” head coach Erin Mellinger said.
Evangelista got the scoring started Thursday night with a kill in the first set and Trinity Valley didn’t have much luck slowing her down from there. After the two teams split the second and third sets, Evangelista helped end the fourth set and the match with three kills and a block that broke a 21-all tie.

“She stepped up and rose to the occasion,” Mellinger said.
Kariana Castanon-Hill found her touch in the later sets and contributed another 13 kills. Rebecca Reeve added another 10 as the Bucs finished with 63 kills in the match.

Crystal Young ran the offense and had 59 of the Bucs’ 62 assists.
“Her decision-making is awesome,” Mellinger said. “She would be calling the offense and I would think ‘that was such a great call.’”

Freshman Alyssa LaMont led the Bucs with 17 of the team’s 64 digs.

The Bucs head to the Tyler Invitational Friday and Saturday held at Tyler Junior College. Of the four matches they’ll play include second-ranked Western Nebraska Community College at 5 p.m. Friday and Cowley College, the top-ranked team in the NJCAA Division II rankings, at 3 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s going to be a tough weekend,” Mellinger said. “We’re going to be playing a lot of games in a short amount of time. Hopefully we can open up the tournament and get into a rhythm and take it from there.”