Blazers drop first game of the season in five-set thriller at Jefferson College


HILLSBORO, Mo. – The Vincennes University volleyball team suffered their first loss of the 2023 season Tuesday night in a very evenly matched road showdown with Jefferson College.

The Blazers fell to the Vikings 25-22, 25-27, 20-25, 26-24, 14-16.

The two teams set the tone early for how closely contested this match would be, with the two teams trading side outs for most of the opening set.

VU was the first to break away, using a 9-2 scoring run to take an 18-13 lead, before Jefferson answered right back with a 6-0 run to take the lead back at 19-18.

Vincennes would swing the momentum back with three straight points and end up holding on to the lead to close out set one 25-22 and take a 1-0 match lead.

The Vikings looked to respond quickly on their home floor and jumped out to an early lead in set two.

The Blazers trailed by six before using a massive 8-0 scoring run to take the lead at 19-17.

Jefferson College would outscore the Blazers 6-1 to take the lead back, before VU answered with four straight to force overtime in set two.

The Vikings would close out the second set on a 4-1 scoring run and even the match by taking set two over the Blazers 27-25.

Jefferson looked to continue to ride this momentum into set three and again build an early lead and growing their lead to 20-9 in the third set.

VU would look to rally back, using small scoring runs and a big 5-0 scoring burst to cut the deficit to four before JeffCo closed out the third set 25-20 and took a 2-1 match lead over Vincennes.

Set four was back to the back-and-forth battle that we saw in set one, with VU looking to force a fifth set.

Vincennes would get a lead late after outscoring the Vikings 8-2 to take a 19-16 advantage, before Jefferson College answered back with a 5-1 run of their own to grab the lead back at 21-20.

The Vikings had an opportunity and served match point before VU closed out the fourth set with three straight points, taking set four in overtime and forcing a winner-take-all fifth set 26-24.

In the decisive fifth set, the Blazers carried their momentum from the previous set, quickly building an early lead with four straight points to start the set and holding on to a 7-3 lead.

Jefferson would swing the momentum back on their home floor by outscoring the Blazers 8-2 and taking an 11-9 lead before VU looked to answer back again and evened the score at 14-14, forcing overtime for the third time in the match.

Jefferson College was able to close out the Trailblazers in overtime however, scoring two unanswered to take set five 16-14 and the match 3-2.

“You don’t know the identity of a team until they face adversity,” VUVB Head Coach Gary Sien said. “So, we came away today with a bit of an idea on our mindset. We didn’t come out ahead in the final score, but we fought them on every point and set and showed a lot of heart. We look forward to this level of competition.”

The Trailblazers offense was led by a career night by sophomore Paige Parlanti (Las Vegas, Nev.) who led the Blazers with 28 kills, one shy of her career-high, 33 digs, setting a new career-high, four aces, two blocks and two set assists.

Parlanti was joined by fellow sophomore Audrey Buis (Franklin, Ind.) who also recorded a double-double, with 14 kills, 15 digs, three blocks, two aces and one set assist.

Freshman Isadora Dias (Rio Grande de Norte, Brazil) also crossed into double-digit kills Tuesday night, ending with 12 kills, two blocks, one dig and one set assist.

Freshman Laura Tavares (Merida, Venezuela) ended her night with seven kills, three blocks, two digs and two set assists.

Sophomore setter Maecy Johnson (Chrisman, Ill.) also had a career night, recording her first collegiate double-double with 25 set assists, 10 digs and two kills.

Freshman setter Libby Mehringer (Jasper, Ind.) was very close to matching Johnson with a double-double of her own, Mehringer recorded 25 set assists, nine digs, three aces and one kill.

Sophomore Kennedy Sowell (Effingham, Ill.) and freshman Allison Czyzewski (Louisville, Ill.) helped control the net in the blocking game with Sowell finishing with a team-high four blocks, four digs, one kill and one set assist, while Czyzewski ended with three blocks and one kill.

Sophomore libero Morgan Netcott (Montague, Mich.) led the back row defense all night, finishing with a team-high 36 digs and three set assists. Freshman Grace Flexter (Oblong, Ill.) also entered the match Tuesday and recorded one dig.

“Paige was just next level on her offense,” Sien added. “She hit everywhere along the net and in the back row. They had no answer for her all night. The setting was balanced as Maecy and Libby ran an efficient offense.”

“When the block does their job and funnels the hits to our defenders on the wings, Morgan had some big numbers on defense as it is hard to put a ball down against her,” Sien said. “

The Trailblazers will again be on the road this weekend when VU heads to Perrysburg, Ohio to take part in the Owens C.C. Tournament hosted by Owens Community College Friday, Sept. 1 and Saturday. Sept. 2.

Vincennes will again face some very tough competition in Ohio, beginning with facing the defending NJCAA Division II National Champions and current No. 6-ranked Richard Bland College at 10 a.m. eastern on Friday. VU will close out the first day of action against Hagerstown Community College at 3:15 p.m. eastern.

Day two will set the Blazers again face an NJCAA Division II Top-15-ranked opponent, this time in the form of No. 14-ranked St Johns River State at 9 a.m. eastern Saturday, before ending the weekend against Oakland Community College at 12:30 p.m. eastern.

“We have to maintain a high degree of serve receive and sideout offense,” Sien added. “Jefferson made several runs at us that we have to learn to limit. Our blocking was good later in the match but has to be good right at the go.”

“But those are things that we will work on and improve,” Sien said. “I do know this team cannot wait to hit the court Friday in Ohio. They just want to use the things they learned tonight and to prove themselves as a group of good players and a good team.”


VUVB (4-1, 3-0) – 25   25   20   26   14

Jefferson College – 22   27    25   24   16


Grace Flexter – 1 dig

Audrey Buis – 18 points, 2 aces, 14 kills, 1 solo block, 2 block assists, 15 digs, 1 set assist

Morgan Netcott – 36 digs, 3 set assists

Paige Parlanti – 33 points, 4 aces, 28 kills, 2 block assists, 33 digs, 2 set assists

Isadora Dias – 13.5 points, 12 kills, 1 solo block, 1 block assist, 1 dig, 1 set assist

Allison Czyzewski – 2.5 points, 1 kill, 3 block assists

Maecy Johnson – 2 points, 2 kills, 10 digs, 25 set assists

Kennedy Sowell – 3.5 points, 1 kill, 1 solo block, 3 block assists, 4 digs, 1 set assist

Laura Tavares – 9 points, 7 kills, 1 solo block, 2 block assists, 2 set assists

Libby Mehringer – 4 points, 3 aces, 1 kill, 9 digs, 25 set assists