On a team full of upperclassmen standouts, Greenbrier's Kailyn Blackmon probably did the most for the Wolfpack volleyball team.
Before her senior year, Blackmon was already one of Greenbrier's more versatile players. During the summer, she added another weapon, learning to jump serve at a camp at University of West Florida in Pensacola.
The Columbia County News-Times' Volleyball Player of the Year gained a mental edge on opponents and boasted a 90 percent save percentage.
Jump serves have two options. The jump float is designed to carry deep and drop just in play. The jump topspin drops quickly. Opponents were unnerved by Blackmon's jumping high in the air and by not knowing what to expect when the ball cleared the net.
"They're really hard to read," senior Jordan Welch said of Blackmon's new-look serves.
The serves were only a bonus to what Blackmon already brought the Wolfpack. She led the team in assists, with seven per match. She also averaged more than four kills and had 284 digs and 70 aces.
"I'm strongest at setting, because I can get to the ball very quickly," Blackmon said during the season. "Even if the ball is across the court, I can get there for a square up for where I need to hit the ball."
Blackmon also listed among her strengths the energy and vocal presence she brings to the court. She helped lead Greenbrier to one of its more successful seasons. The Wolfpack reached the quarterfinals of the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA playoffs and posted the school's highest win percentage.
Blackmon expects to continue playing after high school, though she is not sure where. She has talked to Howard, West Georgia, Florida Southern and Piedmont College.
The 5-foot-7 senior knows her height might deter some college coaches. She addressed the issue in a personal biography she posted on a recruiting Web site.
"Yes, I may be a little short compared to most college volleyball players, but height is not a factor for me," Blackmon wrote. "What I lack in height, I make up for in skill."
Blackmon said during the season that being vocal on the floor was one of her strengths. Greenbrier volleyball coach Debbie Born called her senior a "gamer" and a great teammate.
"You want the ball in her hands when there is a winning point," Born said when Blackmon was named The Augusta Chronicle Player of the Week in September. "She makes everyone else step up their game."
Joey Jones contributed to this story.
'The Columbia County News-Times' All-County Volleyball selections
Player of the Year: Kailyn Blackmon, Greenbrier
Coach of the Year: Hannah Funsch, Lakeside
Kailyn Blackmon, Greenbrier -- Player of the Year was an all-region pick, averaged more than four kills and seven assists per match.
Jordan Welch, Greenbrier -- Senior led the team with 292 digs, served up 84 aces.
Leslie Rhoades, Lakeside -- All-region pick helped lead Lakeside to region title as outside hitter and server.*
Halie Brinkman, Lakeside -- Senior was an all-region selection and versatile player.
Chade Martin, Grovetown -- Senior captain led Warriors in kills and blocks.
Emily Shafer, Augusta Prep -- Senior all-state pick helped Prep to eighth consecutive region title, led Cavaliers in kills.
* Lakeside stats unavailable
Amanda Estrada, Evans
Ashley Drake, Evans
Sarah Sussman, Augusta Prep
Allison Harrison, Lakeside
Nicole Burdette, Greenbrier
Ellie Bruni, Greenbrier
Brianna Orton, Harlem; Kelsey Smith, Evans; Natalie Richards, Greenbrier; Chelsea Lewis, Greenbrier; Lindsay Guill, Greenbrier; JoAnne Stoner, Lakeside; Kayla Hinner, Lakeside; Annsley Harrington, Lakeside; Missy Sams, Augusta Prep; Alex Daitch, Augusta Prep; Jozlyn McCaw, Augusta Prep; Elizabeth Hayes, Augusta Prep; Vanessa Adame, Grovetown; Anjelica Vega, Grovetown; Angelique Irizzary; Grovetown.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.