Buccaneers claim sweep over Wharton to open conference

BRENHAM, Texas — Blinn College volleyball (10-5, 1-0) kept its unblemished home record, while entertaining its fans with a sweep over Wharton County Junior College to open the conference season. Blinn swept Wharton by the score of 26-24, 25-20 and 25-14.

"It feels good to open the conference season with the sweep, but we didn't come out ready to go," said Terry Gamble, Blinn head coach. "We have some things to work on, but I was glad that we fought back and got the win at home."

Cheyenne Te'o was strong on defense with 20 digs, while Shelby Sheets led the offense with 27 kills. Roxanne Morris led Blinn with 18 assists, while Samantha Boatman posted 16 assists and nine digs.

"It is a lot of fun to play with this offense and knowing that every time I put the ball in the air that one of my hitters is going to try their hardest to put the ball down," Morris said. "We fought for this win and we outworked the other team in the end."

The Buccaneers and Pioneers played a close first set, but Blinn came out on top 26-24. Wharton gained early momentum in the match and managed to take a 12-5 lead over Blinn. Back-to-back kills by Sheets sparked the offense and the Buccaneers went on a 9-0 run to rally back for an 18-14 lead.  Key plays in the run included a block by Morris to even the score 14-14 and an ace by Boatman for the Buccaneers to take the lead for the first time in the match.

 The Buccaneers held onto the lead until Wharton evened the score 22-22. Tied 24-24, Blinn's Brie-Anna Armstrong and Jasmine McLemore recorded block assists for the next point and an error by Wharton allowed the Buccaneers to take the first set, 26-24, to set an early tone.

The Buccaneers shifted the momentum into the next match to gain a 15-6 lead. Te'o delivered two aces and Sheets recorded two kills, two block assists and an ace during the run. Wharton inched up on Blinn and came within four points of its lead, 22-18. However, Sheets came up with the next two kills and a serving error by Wharton allowed the Buccaneers to claim a 25-20 victory to lead the match 2-0.

Blinn pulled ahead early in the third set, 17-7, with Sheets leading the way with five kills. A block by Armstrong and four straight kills from Sheets allowed the Buccaneers to stay ahead 23-12. A kill by McLemore and block by Morris ensured the 25-14 win for the sweep.

With the win, the Buccaneers are undefeated at home with a 5-0 record. Blinn will take a break from conference play to compete in the Clarendon Classic in Clarendon, Texas on Friday, Sept. 21, and Saturday, Sept. 22. Blinn will face Lamar Community College at 4 p.m. on Friday and Clarendon College at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 38 NJCAA national championships since 1987.