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East beats West 3-2 in thrilling victory


It took all five sets, but Central Bucks East defeated its archrival Central Bucks West in a thrilling 3-2 victory at home on Tuesday night.

Senior Reid Miller had 18 kills and Ryan Coxey had 40 assists en route to the win.

“It’s always amazing, especially because that’s our rival school and I play club with a bunch of those guys,” Miller said.

The Patriots won the first two sets (25-18, 25-22) and seemed to be on course to a sweep, but the Bucks gave them trouble in the next two, winning both sets (25-14, 25-19) and sending it to a fifth.

“I thought, in the first two sets, we defended really well,” CB East head coach Rob Minschwaner said. “We passed a lot, we had great serves, we picked up a lot of their balls and we put a lot away. We were swinging pretty freely.”

After the first two sets, the communication between CB East slowly faded. Balls began dropping in between East’s players. These errors helped CB West to win back-to-back sets.

“In these long matches, when you get a little fatigued, the communication is one of the first things that breaks down,” Minschwaner said. “It’s (mental) more than it is physical.”

In the fifth set, CB East (6-4, 5-2 SOL) found itself down 3-0 early and had to claw its way back.

Eventually, the Patriots regrouped and regained the lead 14-13 – their first lead since the third set. They fed off one another’s energy. Each point the Patriots scored in that set was followed by an uproar from the team and the stands, amplifying each time. A gym that was filled with roughly 150 people felt like a gym filled with 1,000.

“You just have to celebrate every little victory to get people going,” Miller said. “Because if they’re really down, people stop moving and it all just crumbles. You just have to get each other hyped up and going.”

Miller was a key cog in CB East’s attack. Every time the ball was set on his end, you expected to hear two loud noises shortly after: his hand striking the ball and the ball striking the ground. He hits the ball hard. And despite the Bucks’ defense knowing he would attack, they had no answer for it.

Miller on his approach to attacking: “Honestly, the more you think about it the worse it is,” Miller said. “It’s just kind of instinct at that point. You see the block (attempt) out of the corner of your eye and you just try to avoid it.”

Miller was also active on the defensive side with seven digs and two blocks. Evan Blank and AJ Helveston contributed to East’s scoring efforts with 14 and 12 kills.

The win was special because it was a hard-fought match against an archrival, but it was also special because it “might push us into the playoffs,” Miller said.

Last year, CB East made the playoffs and lost to Haverford 3-1. With a group full of seniors, this team is itching to return.

Miller’s efforts will be needed as the Patriots continue to vie for a playoff stop. Their next match is against North Penn at home 6 p.m. Thursday, April 18. The same day, CB West (6-4 District One, 5-3 SOL) visits Central Bucks South.

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