NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Though the Glendale Adventist Academy girls’ volleyball team remains a work in progress, there’s at least plenty of comfort for the Cougars knowing they have a steady 1-2 punch.
Specifically, the sister combination of Andrea and Erin Blake. With Andrea pounding the ball for kills and Erin recording timely aces, it’s helped speed up the progress.
It showed Monday afternoon, as Andrea finished with a match-high 17 kills and Erin added a match-best seven aces to power host Glendale Adventist to a 25-18, 25-22, 25-12 nonleague victory against Highland Hall.
“It’s just nice to have their leadership out there because we have a young team,” said Glendale Adventist first-year Coach Hugo Gomez, whose team improved to 2-4. “They go out there and take on the responsibility of helping the other players get better.
“We still have the ability to keep building on lots of different things. We have to keep staying focused and being able to finish. You do that by staying alert.”
The Cougars, who improved to 2-1 in their last three matches, did precisely what Gomez wanted. Glendale Adventist, which did not qualify for the playoffs last season, had no difficulty closing out the first and third games. In the second game, Highland Hall (0-1) used a 7-0 run to pull to within 21-20 before Glendale Adventist finished on a 4-2 run.
Andrea Blake, a senior outside hitter, registered seven aces in the first game to get the Cougars off to a quick start.
“I’m out there trying to improve my leadership, and my hitting has improved a lot over the years,” she said. “I think we have a team that’s got a lot of potential.
“It’s also fun to be able to teach Erin and just watch her grow as a player.”
A kill by Andrea Blake gave the Cougars an 8-2 advantage in the first game.
Erin, a sophomore middle blocker, had three aces in a row early in the first game to also help set the tone for Glendale Adventist.
Audrey Tran of Glendale Adventist had two aces in a row in the second game. Her second ace gave the Cougars an 11-8 lead. Erin Blake then followed suit with two straight aces to make it 17-10.
The elder Blake also had two consecutive aces in the second game to give the Cougars some breathing room at 24-20.
The younger Blake said her serving has improved early in the season.
“It’s about getting more confidence with the serving and knowing my strengths,” she said. “Last year, I never served, and now I’m getting in lots of serves.
“Having a strong serve is one of the key things. Without it, you can’t do much.”
Glendale Adventist led throughout the third game.
Glendale Adventist will take compete in another nonleague home match at 5 p.m. Wednesday against Pilibos.