Central Bucks West certainly isn’t having the unbeaten season CB East is having but hey, the visiting Bucks had just won eight straight matches before falling to the Patriots in straight sets May 6 in Doylestown.
CB West gave CB East all it could handle however, taking the two-time defending Suburban One League (SOL) Continental League champions to overtime in the first two sets before falling, 25-19, in the third and final match.
The Bucks had the Patriots right where they wanted them, playing for match-point once near the end of the first set and five times in the second set before falling, 33-31, to find themselves trailing two games to one.
“We definitely fought with them. Even though we didn’t come out winning either of those games, we still put up a great fight,” said CB West senior co-captain Austin Cervasio. “It was a great match.”
Outside hitter Cole Nagle led the Bucks with five kills in the initial matchup and nine balls that either went for kills or forced errors in that marathon second set.
“The way he came in and did what he had to do and get us a bunch of kills – it was huge,” said junior co-captain Adam Klapper.
In game one, the Bucks were up 25-24 on a block by Ethan Cox when they committed a service error and a hitting error to fall behind 26-25 just before CB East junior Jacob LaBoulliere (14 kills, six digs) put the Patriots up 1-0 with a ball that forced an error by the visitors.
West was up 30-29 in game two when an apparent kill by Nagle near the back line was negated by officials. CB East coach Rob Minschwaner was the person most upset and his team lost a point when he was cited with a red card by the game official.
Up 31-30, the Bucks followed with a service error and 2018 first team all-District One and first team all-league CB East senior Dylan Colbert (20 kills, 16 digs) recorded the winning hits, killing two straight balls to put the Patriots up, 2-0.
East seemed to cruise from there, going up 14-7 on a kill by Thomas Gallagher-Teske and winning the third set on a kill by Colbert.
“Adam (Klapper) had a great day setting. Austin (Cervasio) was a beast, which he usually is against us. Eli (Gibson), I thought, was hitting real well,” said Minschwaner. “He’s a smart hitter. He kept burning it past our defense. Our defender kept getting sucked in; it seemed like he saw it every time.
“West just played a really good, high-intensity game.”
In the first two sets, the Bucks gave it everything they had. However, West committed a half-dozen service errors in the third set and that all but sealed the match in favor of the Patriots.
“We gave up too many mistakes, plain and simple,” commented CB West head coach Todd Miller. “When we played good volleyball, we were right there.
“When we serve into the net and give them opportunities, we let them off the hook.”
Still, going up against an unbeaten squad isn’t easy, not for any opponent.
“You know they’re not coming at you with any fear,” said Klapper.
“Because they haven’t lost yet.
“But the way we played, their confidence was shaken towards the end.
“We had them right where we wanted them; we just couldn’t finish it off.”
It was a bump in the road in an otherwise nice run by West, now 11-5 overall, 8-5 in the Continental Conference including match wins over SOL Continental rivals Upper Dublin, Souderton, Pennridge and CB South.
Even with the loss to East, the Bucks hold on to sixth place in the District One Class 3A boys volleyball rankings. They owe that spot mostly to the wins they posted over the Cardinals and the Rams.
After falling to Upper Dublin 3-0 the first time around and trailing 1-0 in the rematch, West won three consecutive sets, 26-24, 25-22 and 27-25.
The Bucks’ rematch with Pennridge was also a significant win after falling in five sets in the initial matchup. After falling to the Rams 25-15 in the opening set, West rebounded with a 25-20 triumph in game two, took game four 25-21 and won the match with a 15-8 triumph in game five.
Last season, the Bucks earned a No. 8 seed in districts and toppled North Penn in five sets before falling to eventual D1 champion Council Rock North in five sets in the District One quarterfinals.
“Our hopes are just to play the way we played (CB East) in the first two sets against any team,” said Klapper. “Whether we match up against (CB East) in the second round or whatever. We just need to do what we’ve done to Pennridge, Upper Dublin, what we did to (CB East) in the first two sets.”
District playoffs begin May 14 with finals set for May 23 at CR South.
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