TOWAMENCIN — For the second straight season the Central Bucks West volleyball team won the Christopher Dock Invitational Tournament.
On Saturday they did so in style, sweeping through pool play, never dropping a game. Setter Matthew Hennigan was named to the All-Tourney team along with tourney MVP Christian Rupert.
"It's always fun to play a competitive match,' Rupert said. "We have been working toward this for a long time now. It is really rewarding.'
Council Rock North never stood a chance. It was 7-0 in Game 1 of the championship match before the Indians could comprehend what hit them. What hit them was the Bucks' big front line of the stingy blockers and heavy hitters. They went onto to win the best-of-three 25-14 and 25-15. They showed why they are currently ranked number two in the state by PVCA.
"The pressure was on,' Bucks coach Todd Miller said. "There are good teams here and coming back as champions of this tournament there was a bulls-eye on our back. We had to execute and we did a great job of playing all day. The pressure is not going to end until the end.'
"We embrace the target on our back,' Hennigan said. "They are going to play their best so we have to play our best.'
The biggest scare came in the semifinals when Whitehall were within striking distance at 21-21, before the Bucks closed out the game 25-22 and the Zephyrs 23-21 in game two. The nearly two hour layoff between pool play and the semis was not ideal, but the Bucks found a way, as they have done all season (14-0, 12-0 in conference), to win.
"We sat an hour and 45 minutes before the semifinal.' Miller said. "Whitehall was already in rhythm and to overcome that is great. We battled back.'
Either way the Bucks were going to play the Indians in the finals, but through pool play it looked like it could be Souderton. The Indians swept through pool play, 8-0, and did not drop a game until Rock North in the semis. Big Red was cruising up 20-12 in Game 2 when they lost senior middle hitter Evan Miller to an ankle injury.
"It is tough to lose Evan,' Indians coach Brad Garrett said. "I felt like we were just hitting our stride. To our guys credit we kept playing. We have gotten better every time we have stepped on the court the last two weeks and I would have liked a shot at West.'
Miller missed the third game against Rock North, but sophomore Jack Pagan stepped onto the court and Garrett's group played hard for their fallen captain, who was named to the All-tourney team. Micah Godshall put some swings on a few balls and they came within one point of the finals and another shot at the Bucks on several occasions.
"We played really well in the third game,' Garrett said, "It is hard to lose a senior leader that you rely on for offense and blocking. I thought Jack (Pagan) did a good job and everyone picked up their game.'
The Indians (8-4, 7-3 in conference) never could go up two points and the game scheduled to go to 15 fell in favor of the Rock North Indians, 23-21, ending the Indians strong showing on a sour note.
"We played really well all day,' Garrett said. "Hopefully we will grow as a team from this and Evan will be back soon.'