Flashing from the middle to the right side of the net, Ansley Blevins generated momentum for big swings on her slide hits to help spark Girls Preparatory School in Monday's home match against Silverdale Baptist Academy.
Blevins was a force to reckon with as the sophomore "energy ball," as described by senior teammate Preslee Brooksbank, recorded eight kills and two blocks in the first two sets to spark a 3-0 Bruisers sweep by the scores of 25-13, 25-15 and 25-18.
"In order for us to produce like we know we can, there has to be a lot of energy on the court," Blevins said. "Whenever I come on the court, that's what I like to bring. It also helps to have a great setter. Faith (Copeland) works with us and adjusts to what sets are best for us. She is awesome."
Copeland finished with 22 assists and faked a set to place a perfect shot for a sneaky kill in the second set. Twice in the first two sets the senior setter connected with Blevins for powerful slams leading to Silverdale timeouts.
The breakout performance for the middle blocker came at a good time as GPS (10-9) was able to bounce back after winning just two of seven matches last week.
"We have been working hard to get more kills from our middles," said coach Jasmine Brown, who helped win two state championships as a volleyball player with the Bruisers. "Ansley has put it a lot of work to really develop in that position. Especially on the slide, she has been doing really well hitting that. Faith continues to do a good job setting our hitters up for success."
GPS freshman Ansley Junkins' kill at the front net began a 10-2 run to help take control of the first set. Kylie Barry's service was spot on throughout, and she had four of her team's 16 aces.
Brooksbank was yet again a key driving force as she had eight of her match-high 10 kills in the first two sets. The Nova Southeastern University volleyball commitment believes learning from the tough stretches can help propel GPS past its Division II-AA state quarterfinal finish last season.
"We are focusing on playing hard and together. We made a lot of errors last week we know we can improve on," Brooksbank said. "If we can fix those mistakes and come out stronger from the start, I think we can have a really memorable season. I know we can put all the pieces together."
Silverdale (7-9) was led in kills by Kenzie Manning with seven, while Savannah Williams had two blocks.
GPS was given a boost by Chapel Cunningham in the third set with a trio of kills, while she provided solid defense and serves as well.
"Our goal is to get to Murfreesboro," Brown said. "This team has the potential. I have been challenging them to come out stronger and maintain a high level of volleyball. Today they did that throughout the entire match."
Contact Patrick MacCoon at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.