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Girls volleyball

Resurgent West upsets East


Miller Time.

Sarah Miller watched a four-point, set point lead evaporate and took matters in her own hands. She pounded kills on consecutive points to give her CB West Bucks a 26-24 second set win Thursday night at archrival CB East.

“I was thinking ‘Crush it.’ I was confident the whole time,” Miller shared.

The Bucks impressed in their 3-0 (25-16, 26-24, 25-14) sweep of the first-place Patriots, who entered the night winning nine of their last 10 matches. West also had a 9-1 run this year, in its opening 10 matches, but came to Buckingham having dropped three of its last four.

“We had a lot of good communication, we kept our energy high the whole time and we just kept grinding,” Miller explained.

“In the beginning of the season, we had a lot of good momentum and we did really well,” added libero Caroline Taylor, who had 10 digs and an ace. “We got some injuries and went through some adversity. But tonight, we knew we had to bring it to them, we had to work as a family and that is exactly what we did to overcome East, who has been a great team the entire season. We trusted each other.”

West held a slim 11-9 lead in set one, but then rattled off six straight points behind Hollis Walton’s serving. A Miller kill and block highlighted the run.

Set two featured ties of 4-all, 12-all and 17-all before West built a 24-20 lead. A pair of Kate Malobisky kills evened the set at 24 before Miller stepped up.

The third set was all West. Rachel Hu dealt East three straight aces, while three kills and a block from Alexis Barklage helped the Bucks build a 14-4 lead.

“I thought West played great and hustled for every point,” commended East coach Jacki Curci. “I think that helped our girls see that they need to hustle for everything and not let anything go.”

Getting Miller and Barklage, who combined for 18 kills on Thursday, back from injury paid big dividends for the Bucks. “Sarah and Alexis are great players and both are really dominant at the net,” Taylor said. “Losing that hurt us but we all got back into the gym and worked really hard to get here.”

East, who is still in first place by one game, is looking to defend its SOL Continental title. “I think they know not to take any time lightly and that every team is going to bring it,” Curci said, “especially when we are where we are right now.

“I think we gel well offensively,” Curci continued. “We have really strong serving. We have most of our team back again, which has helped. When they stay loose, they are killing it.”

East (10-7, 9-2 SOL), ranked 18th in the 4A district power rankings as of press time, swept Villa Joseph Marie 3-0 on Monday. Senior Katie Monaghan recorded her 1,000th career assist, all the more impressive since she played in one COVID-shortened season.

West (13-4, 8-3 SOL) closed a four-game road trip by sweeping Hatboro-Horsham 3-0 on Monday behind Barklage’s nine kills. The Bucks bested Pennridge 3-1 on their Tuesday Senior Night. Mackenzie Lund had six kills and four aces. West is currently ranked 13th. The top 24 teams advance to districts.

Of Note: Thursday Night was the annual Dig Pink Game, which featured multiple fundraisers for breast cancer and a chance for two rival schools to focus on beating a common enemy.

“I think this is such a good cause,” Taylor said. “We really wanted to show up to support breast cancer awareness and I think we really did that tonight.”

“I think it shows so much community. Everyone puts their West and East aside to come together and raise money,” Curci pointed out. “The parents do a great job of helping. There are a lot of nerves involved since the girls know each other through club volleyball. Dig Pink brings a lot of emotions.”

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Girls volleyball