SHILLINGTON >> It was the matchup everyone expected to see. In the end, that didn’t even matter. It was simply another night at the court office for the Exeter Eagles.
Exeter defended its BCIAA girls’ volleyball title Tuesday evening with a 3-0 win over Berks Catholic in the league championship match, held at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School.
The Eagles defeated the Saints by scores of 25-21, 25-14 and 25-22 to run their record to 16-0 overall and with it, keep alive a season-long streak of not dropping a single game — a mark that reached 48-0, with a county championship trophy in tow.
Veteran Exeter head coach Jason Grove was non-committal when asked where this edition of Eagles ranks on his coaching resume, but it’s hard to deny that those dominating numbers don’t occupy a high place in the pantheon.
“This team is certainly up there with the best,” Grove said. “We certainly weren’t at the top our game today but in matches like this it doesn’t matter. You just need to play well enough to win and we did that.”
Berks Catholic (14-3), much like Exeter in Section 1, won its Section 2 race handily and steamrolled into the league finals. Despite a spirited effort, the Saints could not withstand Exeter’s runs, powered by the dynamic duo of Drew Kofke and Abby Campbell. Kofke had 14 kills; Campbell 13 kills and four digs.
The Saints got out to leads of 12-8 and 16-9 in the first set and certainly looked the part of streak-breakers, if not county champions. But BC could not hold off what felt like an inevitable surge that saw Exeter win 12 of 16 points late to seize control of the opening game.
“In that first set we were all out of sorts,” Grove said, “but I’m proud of how they rallied and kept it together. Berks Catholic, to their credit, never stopped fighting.”
BC third-year head coach Justine Heffner knew what her Saints were up against.
“We had our moments to win,” Heffner said, “and while I believe any team can be beaten on any given day, Exeter is one of those teams that never die. They’re diving everywhere, left and right. You think you have a kill, then someone is going to the wall to get the ball.
“They’re the team you want to play, because they’re going to make you better. It was a really great match for us to get ready for districts. Maybe we’ll go home sad tonight, but we’ll look at how much playing a team like this will help us in districts. … I felt like we did a good job of persevering. Maybe it wasn’t enough, but we pushed ‘til the end and I’m proud to be able to coach a team that wants to fight.”
Exeter finally established its first lead of the match, at 21-20 late in the first set, to ward off an early hole — “we were playing like we were in a trance,” Grove said — and a streak-snapper. From there, the Eagles put it into gear through the second set, which they won comfortably by 11 to go up 2-0.
The early portion of the third set looked a bit like the opener, with BC grabbing an 8-4 lead, before Exeter kicked it up a notch and piled on again. The Eagles won nine of the next 14 points to wrestle away control of BC’s last stand and ride it out to a trophy.
“We seem to play better when we play good teams,” Kofke said of her squad’s unflappable nature. “I knew we could do it. We started slow, we weren’t playing to our full potential, but we knew we could beat them.
“We wanted to win this 3-0 to keep our perfect season going.”
Exeter 3, Berks Catholic 0
BC – 21 14 22 — 0
E – 25 25 25 — 3
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