Last year was a groundbreaking season for the Avon Grove High School volleyball team.They won 18 games, advanced all the way to the District 1 Class AAA championship, went on to win a state playoff game for the first time in school history, and then ended the year by finishing as one of the top-eight teams in the entire state of Pennsylvania.
So what could they possibly do for an encore?
Well, the sky seems to be the limit for Avon Grove this fall.
This past Tuesday evening in a showdown between undefeated powers in the Ches-Mont League - Avon Grove and Bishop Shanahan - the Red Devils flexed their muscles and swept the visiting Eagles out of town faster than they could blink.
Avon Grove handed Shanahan its first loss of the season, and they did it in dominating fashion, rolling to a 25-21, 26-24, 25-20 win inside Avon Grove High School's gymnasium.
In the process, the Red Devils improved to 7-0 overall and upped their Ches-Mont record to a perfect 6-0 to take over sole possession of first place in the National Division.
"One of our goals this season is to win the Ches-Mont," said Avon Grove head coach Donna Smith. "That's something that we've never accomplished before. In order to do that we know we have to beat Shanahan twice. They're a great team and we have a lot of respect for them. Beating them is always good. Beating them in three games is great."
Avon Grove received a big game from freshman Mackenzie Kleespies, who ripped off 13 kills to go along with nine digs and two aces. The Red Devils also received strong performances from senior Kelly Hatton (five kills, five aces and five digs), senior Devon Camarota (eight kills and four blocks) and senior Maggie Corry (28 assists).
Avon Grove won the first game with ease. It appeared that would be the case again in the second game. However, Shanahan battled out of a 22-17 deficit to take a 24-23 lead. The Devils, though, clawed back to take it 26-24 and then completed the sweep with a strong game three.
"The girls were really fired up to play today," said Smith. "It's exciting to be challenged the way Shanahan challenged us in that second game. The fact that we don't get nervous in those situations anymore is very important.
"The girls have a goal in which they don't want to drop a game this season. We haven't dropped one yet. We still have a lot of things we need to work on though, but we're very happy with where we're at right now."