Blountstown Volleyball Off to the Best Start to a Season Since 2018

JJ and Adam Bleday work towards return to pro ball.
Published: Sep. 17, 2023 at 8:41 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Over in Blountstown the Tigers have been the best high school volleyball team in the Panhandle so far this year.

Sitting at 13-3 on the season, and coming off a 3-1 win over the reigning state champ Liberty Bulldogs, the Tigers have been cruising through the season.

But as always with success, comes expectations and the figurative target on your back. The team has now reached the time in the season when everyone knows what they’re about and they have the Blountstown game circled on their calendar; but that’s just the way Head Coach Leigh Ann Summers and her girls like it.

“One thing I always talk to them about, we don’t necessarily shy away from having the target. I tell them, everybody is coming in to beat Blountstown. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we have to anticipate everybody is going to give us their absolute best and we’ve got to play at a high level to beat them. So, it doesn’t necessarily matter who we’re playing, we’re going out and we’re going to compete the best we absolutely can. That’s kind of the expectation that I put on them for every game. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, go out and compete at the level that I know you can, focus on what’s happening on our side of the net and let the chips fall where they may”, Summers said.

The 13-3 mark is the Tigers best start since 2018. When talking with Coach Summers, she said it’s because it’s not just a few top players carrying the team, the entire team is stepping up and playing for each other and having the anchor of 10 seniors on a 15 girl roster. The culture, tone and mindset is all focused on rising to the occasion.

“I think having 10 seniors, one of the things, I tell them all the time, tik tok, tik tok and that’s your time is running out. So they’ve kind of taken that and said, you know, “this is it, if we’re going to do anything, we’ve got to do it now.” You’re seeing seniors step up, you’re seeing juniors step up, you’re seeing sophomores step up, you’re seeing a freshman step up who had to step into a game and fill in a role, who doesn’t have a whole lot of experience. That’s evident, that’s all because of our leaders, that is the buy in these girls have had. It doesn’t matter what grade, your experience level, they’ve all bought into it and they all have stepped up. You know, last year we had that issue, we had 1 go down and nobody was willing and wanted to step up. We’ve learned from that, we’re better because of it and now I just have a team where everybody is stepping up and it’s awesome.”

Back to that 2018 team, they started the year 17-3, winning 15 straight during that stretch and eventually finishing the season at 22-6 but with a 1st round playoff exit... this years Tigers team will look to replicate that regular season success but bring along for the postseason as well. The Tigers will travel to Maclay on Monday, need just 1 win to match this win total from last year.