TYLER, Texas -- The 2014 Blinn College volleyball team is picking up right where it left off in 2013.
The defending national champion Buccaneers defeated Colby (Kan.) 25-14, 25-9, 25-6 and Panola 25-12, 25-23, 25-14 Saturday to complete a four-match sweep of the Dana Hatch Invitational in Tyler, Texas. The Buccaneers had swept 12th-ranked Missouri State – West Plains and Pensacola (Fla.) State in the first day of the tournament Friday.
“We’ve got some things to work on but overall I’m proud of them,” Blinn (4-0) coach Erin Mellinger said. “Our sophomores are playing really well and we’re going to improve as our freshmen get time and familiarity with each other.”
Tawnee Luafalemana led the Buccaneers with 11 kills against Colby while Rebecca Reeve posted seven kills and a team-leading five blocks.
“Tawnee was really good,” Mellinger said. “She hasn’t played volleyball that long, but she’s six feet tall and has the vertical leap to touch 10-foot-3. She’s going to get faster and more consistent, but she’s already hitting very good percentages.”
Rachel Sharp and Trinity Alualu each finished with six kills. Defensively, the Buccaneers were led by Alyssa LaMont’s 11 digs. Justus Tuiolosega posted 15 assists and 10 digs, and Jordyn Keamo recorded 13 assists.
Reeve stepped up with a big match against Panola, posting a team-leading 12 kills without committing an error, while Alualu added 11. Luafalemana finished with seven kills and a team-high four blocks, while Sharp tallied six kills and three blocks. Abolanle Onipede finished with six kills.
Keamo dished out a team-high 20 assists while adding eight digs, and LaMont finished with eight digs as well. Tuiolosega finished with 14 assists.
The Buccaneers will host the Applebee’s Classic beginning Friday at the Blinn P.E. Building. The Bucs host Eastern Arizona at 1 p.m. and fifth-ranked Tyler at 7 p.m. Friday, then face Yavapai (Ariz.) at 3 p.m. and Navarro at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 29 NJCAA national championships since 1987. For more information on Blinn volleyball, visit www.buccaneersports.com.