At the beginning, Kailyn Blackmon wasn't keen on the idea of setting.
The Greenbrier High School junior loved her spot at outside hitter despite being considered undersized for the position. Her jumping ability offsets her lack of height. And outside hitter is where the action was.
But after the Wolfpack graduated their top setter last season, Blackmon went to work filling the void. Her club team also was in need of a setter, so Blackmon started toying with the idea.
She worked on her setting throughout summer camp and emerged this season as the Wolfpack's top setter and hitter. Blackmon's versatility helped lead Greenbrier to a Region 2-AAAAA title and the title of The Columbia County News-Times All-County Volleyball Player of the Year.
"Our setter graduated last year, so I guess I was next," Blackmon said. "I'll just go anywhere I'm needed, pretty much."
Blackmon was the Region 2-AAAAA Player of the Year. She averaged 4.13 kills per game and finished the season with 311 digs.
The Wolfpack's season ended in the first round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs, but Blackmon is confident the young Greenbrier squad will be stronger next season. Coach Debbie Born's team graduates only outside hitter Molly Buckner.
"Most of the girls, it was their first time on varsity," Blackmon said. "Next year, I think we're going to kill at state. We have a better feel for it."
Blackmon likely will be the Wolfpack's top player again next season. She started playing in middle school, and has played school and club volleyball since.
Blackmon said volleyball can be perceived wrong by outsiders.
"I like the intensity of it," she said. "Most people think volleyball is a joke. But it's very fast."
Blackmon also said she enjoyed hitting the ball, an urge she has had to curb somewhat this season. Born's 6-2 scheme utilizes Blackmon as both a hitter and setter.
The coach said her standout became more comfortable setting up teammates as the season progressed.
"She really grasped it ... easily," Born said. "We're hoping that's what we're going to get her into school with."
Blackmon wants to play volleyball after high school. Her lack of height might inhibit her from earning a scholarship as an outside hitter, though she can jump as high as taller hitters reach at their peak.
Blackmon has started filling out questionnaires for various colleges.
She plans to give Born a list of schools she is interested in and let her coach go to work.
"I'm working on a scholarship," Blackmon said. "So whoever gives me a scholarship."
Until then, Blackmon will continue her club schedule. She can probably be found wherever she's needed.
"She's just one of my favorite kids on and off the floor -- really developed into any kind of player you need her to be," Born said. "She's got that leadership about her."
All-County Volleyball Team
Player of the Year: Kailyn Blackmon, Jr., Greenbrier
Molly Buckner, Greenbrier
-- Senior posted 6.2 kills per game and finished with 341 digs
Kailyn Blackmon, Greenbrier
-- The county's Player of the Year had a 27.5 kill percentage and 6.8 assists per game
Kelcey Diehl, Lakeside
-- First-team All Region pick finished with 69 aces
Leslie Rhoades, Lakeside
-- Junior came up with 20 blocks and 82 aces
Lacey Brock, Evans
--Knights player was a first-team All Region selection
Chancellor Martin, Harlem
--Two-sport Bulldogs standout was a first-team All Region pick
Jen Hicks, Augusta Prep
--All State selection led the Cavaliers with 408 assists
Katie Jackson, Harlem
Ebony Wells, Harlem
Alex Daitch, Augusta Prep
Sarah Sussman, Augusta Prep
Haley Brinkman, Lakeside
Haley Powell, Lakeside
Heather Hammack, Evans
Jordan Welch, Greenbrier
Caiti Manning, Lakeside; Lindsey Guill, Greenbrier; Ellie Bruni, Greenbrier; Natalie Richards, Greenbrier.
The Columbia County News-Times All-County teams are composed by The News-Times staff with the help of recommendations by area coaches.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.