What Reese Blackley did on the court for the Alexander volleyball team goes without saying.
She was strong in the hitting category as she led the Cougars to a state playoff appearance for the second straight season.
But it what the senior did off the court is probably the most impressive for coach Adam Watts.
An accomplished player with national-level experienced, Blackley willing shared the knowledge she has acquired while playing high-level club volleyball.
“For her, it was all about game knowledge,” Watts said. “She spent a lot of time traveling the country and playing on different levels. She was real big in the elite programs. What I liked most is that she shared that knowledge with her teammates. They would always ask her questions, and she good at helping them.”
Blackley has been named the Douglas County Sentinel Volleyball Player of the Year for the third straight season.
This past season, Blackley was named to every all-star team after a spectacular season season. She was the No. 2 hitter in Georgia and the No. 17 in the nation according to Maxpreps.com, a website that tracks high school sports throughout the country.
Blackley finished the season with 232 digs, 476 kills, 711 attacks, 80 aces and 38 blocks to lead the team.
“I really gained a lot from playing club ball,” Blackley said. “I put in a lot of extra time and work. I always feel like I should help my teammates. When they came to me, I wanted to help because it was helping us as a team.”
Earlier this month, Blackley signed with Wingate, a NCAA Div. II school in North Carolina. The Bulldogs are currently the No. 2 seed in the tournament. Wingate has been to the NCAA tournament the last 13 straight years, and have won four NCAA Southeast Regional titles since 2010.
The team is coached by Shelton Collier, who ranks fifth among all current coaches in the NCAA in career wins. Shelton previously coached at Georgia Tech and has international coaching experience during his career.
“At first I thought I wanted to go to a big school, but I was really comfortable in a smaller program,” Blackley said. “Wingate just had that great family feel to me.”
Blackley had considered UAB, Georgia, Coastal Carolina and Florida State before settling on Wingate.
With all her club level accolades, Blackley could have easily skipped playing high school volleyball and concentrated full-time on club. However, she said playing high school volleyball was very special to her the last four year.
“Playing high school builds character,” Blackley said. “I never felt that I was too good for high school. I wanted to play to my full potential regardless if it was club or high school.”
Watts commended her Blackley’s parents for instilling in her good work ethics.
“She was a very humble leader for us,” Watts said. “When we needed her too, she stepped up vocally. She certainly made my job a lot easier.”