Blakewood signs with N.C. State

Published: Saturday, January 8, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 7, 2005 at 11:33 p.m.
Exactly six months after North Carolina State offered Kelley Blakewood a volleyball scholarship, the Oak Hall senior signed with the Wolfpack on Friday morning.
Friends, family and even rival P.K. Yonge coach Perry McDonald attended the ceremony at the Oak Hall gym. Blakewood verbally committed in July, but also considered North Carolina, Georgia Tech and UNC-Charlotte.
"I went up to visit (N.C. State) and I loved it. It's a beautiful campus and I really like the coaches," Blakewood said.
Blakewood, the 10th Division I signee for coach Cari Martin, capped a prolific senior season by being named the Class 2A player of the year. She finished with career bests in digs (402), kills (374), service points (202) and aces (62).
The Eagles reached the final four despite losing 12 matches for the first time since Martin took over as coach in 1988. Though Oak Hall fell to eventual state champion Tampa Prep in the state semifinals, it upset McDonald's Blue Wave in the regional finals. Oak Hall finished 100-30 during Blakewood's tenure with three final four appearances, including a state runner-up finish in 2002.
"Getting to state my senior year was important to me," Blakewood said. "My freshman and sophomore years were really tough because we had such a good shot at winning state but we just never could follow through."
Blakewood graduates with teammates UNC commitment Kelly Davies and Kittery Neale, a Davidson commitment. When Davies and Neale each fell to injuries during the season, Blakewood assumed the leadership role and guided the Eagles to the state playoffs.
"Kelley Blakewood lives and breathes the game. She takes it as serious as anything she does," Martin said. "We have been the benefit of a lot of wins because of her hard work."
Though Blakewood excelled as an outside hitter at Oak Hall, she expects and anticipates a move to libero at N.C. State. The Wolfpack finished 10-21 in 2004.
"I'm really looking to it (changing positions)," Blakewood said. "Defense has always been what I enjoy most so being able to play defense all the time and focus on it will be great."

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