HERSHEY >> Berks County tennis can be a tough proving ground.
It can also steel a squad for the larger postseason landscape.
Exeter traveled to Hershey Racquet Club on Thursday as the No. 10 seed in the Class AAA team tennis field. The Eagles played above that ranking with a 3-1 win over Mid-Penn Conference entrant Palmyra.
The Eagles advance to Tuesday’s second round back at HRC, where they’ll face the second-seeded Hempfield Black Knights.
The Cougars crafted a perfect 12-0 mark to win the MPC’s Colonial Division, but they were no match for Exeter’s power on the singles courts Thursday afternoon. The Eagles won 36 of 39 contested games at all three matches to wrap things up in tidy fashion.
Jonah Buczewski set the tone with a 6-0, 6-0 whitewash of Eric Lynn at No. 1. Todd Weiner followed in short order with a 6-1, 6-0 conquest of Palmyra’s Ben Rusling at No. 2, then Diego Olazagasti clinched it with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Eric Kohl at third singles.
Palmyra’s Adam Lerro and Quinn Marcus picked off Exeter’s Owen Halsey and Ethan Reed 6-2, 6-0 at second doubles in the interim for the Cougars’ only team point.
The No. 1 doubles match between Exeter’s duo of Jeff Perdoch and Eric Demotta and Palmyra’s Campbell Graff and Juan Cruz did not finish, but the Eagles were ahead there, too, when played was called.
The Eagles (9-3 overall) were 6-1 and finished as Berks 1 runners-up to Wilson during the regular season, reaching the league semifinals before falling to local and district power Wyomissing, which won its 11th consecutive circuit crown.
Palmyra head coach Abbie Mahaffey was impressed by Exeter’s top players while praising her own.
“I knew Exeter had a really strong one and two,” Palmyra coach Abbie Mahaffey said. “Our strengths have been at three singles and at doubles, where we’ve pretty successful. You never know what you’re gonna get when they come out, but I thought our doubles played well.”