Because of her height, Sydney Blakeney has always played middle blocker.
This past season, the Greenbrier senior helped dominate around the net. After helping the Lady Wolfpack win a region championship and make a deep playoff run, Blakeney is The Augusta Chronicle Volleyball Player of the Year.
The 5-foot-8 Blakeney plays taller than her height thanks to a basketball background. She used her vertical leap to lead the region in blocks (102) and hitting percentage (.419) and finish third in aces and kills. She was named the Region 3-AAAAAA Player of the Year.
“I find it exhilarating,” she said about playing middle blocker. “You’re kind of like the first line of defense when you’re blocking. Whenever you get a really good block, you feel amazing.”
Blakeney played basketball as a youth. It only made sense she play the sport. Her uncle, Keenan Mann, starred in basketball at Augusta College – his was the first number retired by the program.
She began playing volleyball in sixth grade, while she also played basketball. She decided she liked volleyball more, so she stuck with just that sport in high school.
“It’s had its ups and downs,” she said. “Overall, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned a lot about teamwork.”
Blakeney played junior varsity her freshman year at Greenbrier. She played varsity the past three seasons. In her senior campaign, she helped lead the Lady Wolfpack to a 46-3 record and undefeated record in region play. Greenbrier also advanced to the Elite Eight, falling to Pope.
“It’s been really fun,” she said. “My teammates have always been the best part about it, because we have such close relationships. It’s definitely fun being around them.”
Blakeney is now trying to figure out her college plans. Because of her interest in politics, she said she wants to major in international relations and affairs, something that takes precedence over playing volleyball at the next level.
“I hope to go into diplomacy, U.N.-type work,” she said. “That’s always interested me.”