**Note: This article originally appeared in The Reporter and on PaPrepLive.com**
EAST ROCKHILL >> Sitting at the top of the Suburban One League Continental Conference, the Pennridge boys volleyball team wanted to make sure it stayed there against a quality Central Bucks East team that came in just one game back.
The Rams made a statement Monday night, dominating from the start and taking out CB East in straight sets, 25-11, 25-11, 25-19.
“We’re just trying to win the games, we have a good conference,” Pennridge head coach Dave Childs said. “East, West, Souderton are all playing well right now so we’re just trying to win the games as they come and not make more or less of it than that.”
Jesse Smith was the standout of the night for Pennridge. The senior registered 31 assists, five aces and 10 digs in the match.
“It was definitely a good night,” Smith said. “We played well, we put balls away, and that definitely makes a setter’s job easy.”
Ben Chinnici led the way for the Rams with seven kills on the night. Cross Edwards spearheaded the defensive effort, recording 13 digs. Austin Rush and Jeremy Baum each had 10 digs as well.
Pennridge, which improves to 10-1 in the conference with the victory, was the better team in the match right from the start of the first set. The Rams jumped out 8-1 and never looked back.
“I think our defense, honestly,” Childs said about the reason for the quick start. “We served it well in that run and we played good defense.”
The opening set was as much about CB East mistakes as it was Pennridge execution, as the Patriots found themselves making sloppy passes and not communicating as often as needed. Pennridge does deserve credit for capitalizing on those mistakes, however.
“We kind of took care of the ball on our side and we were able to run our offense then,” Childs said. “That kind of helped us play well and kind of kept them off balance a little bit.”
Playing in a rally scoring system, CB East was unable to muster two consecutive points in the first set.
The second set started closer, as Pennridge started the frame with a slight 11-8 edge. That’s when the Rams turned it on again, closing the set on a 14-3 run to win another 25-11.
Pennridge first put together a 6-0 run behind the service work of Edwards to take a 17-8 lead. Later Smith stepped to the serving line and reeled off four aces in a row to put the set to bed.
“I was definitely just aiming for their seams. I found out that was their vulnerable spot,” Smith said about his serving. “They’re full of good passers so if I just kept it away from them it seemed to work.”
CB East (10-3, 8-3) fought hard to the end, much to the Patriots credit after going down two sets to none. They took their first lead of the match at 16-15, forcing a Pennridge timeout.
The Rams were able to steady themselves after the stoppage however, scoring the final six points of the match with the final set tied at 19 to seal the victory.
“For us definitely serving and defensively, if we play well then we’ll get good sets and our hitters can always put the ball away,” Smith said about his team’s runs. “As long as we can keep the balls in play and pass the ball we’re good.”
Pennridge, which is the defending SOL Continental champion, is well on its way to another banner with this victory.
“This was a huge win, being halfway through the year and we needed this victory tostay in first,” Smith said. “(CB East is) a really good team – we played well though.”