NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Last season couldn't have been more painful for Andrea Blake.
During the second match of the season, the Glendale Adventist Academy girls' volleyball player went up for a block and suffered a season-ending right-ankle injury that required months of rehabilitation.
Now, she's refreshed and ready to make an impact for the Cougars. Blake proved to be in form Tuesday afternoon.
She finished with a team-high 16 kills and teammate Kylie Foldvary added four aces to power host Glendale Adventist to a 19-25, 27-25, 25-17, 25-19 nonleague victory against Orangewood Academy.
"It was hard with all of that happening, from the rehabilitation to the ankle being in a cast," said Blake, a junior outside hitter who helped the Cougars improve to 2-2. "The rehabilitation was definitely the hardest.
"Our team has been growing a lot and that showed [Tuesday]. We were able to get some momentum and keep it going."
Things didn't look bright for the Cougars, who had dropped the first game and were in danger of doing the same in the second game. However, the Cougars overcame a 21-11 deficit and staved off game-point thanks to a kill by Blake and two aces in a row by senior libero Ashley Bautista.
Glendale Adventist Coach Bianka Tulgar said the second-game comeback provided a spark for the Cougars.
"It took us a while to get going and I called a timeout and told them what they needed to do," said Tulgar, who got 18 assists from senior setter Anne Sadow and five kills from Foldvary. "It was mainly about having better communication and closing up the gaps on defense.
"With Andrea, she's a huge part of our team. She came back from the injury and played during the summer. She's the kind of player who can hit the ball anywhere on the court."
Blake agreed with Tulgar.
"It was not only important to not just win the second game, but to also get some momentum the rest of the way," Blake said. "We got it and were able to carry it over and we did that by getting on a run with our serving."
In the third game, the Cougars used a 7-0 run to take an 11-5 lead. Blake had two aces and two kills in the sequence and forced Orangewood Academy (7-3) to call timeout. Blake then registered three kills in a row to extend Glendale Adventist's lead to 24-14.
Foldvary and Blake recorded back-to-back kills to give the Cougars a 14-7 advantage in the fourth game. Orangewood closed to within 21-19, but the Cougars picked up the next four points to clinch the victory.
Glendale Adventist finished the match with 13 aces.