Blaze The Trail

Daniel Boone claims first Berks County ti­tle in pro­gram his­tory

The Southern Berks News - - SPORTS - By Thomas Nash tnash@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Thomas_Nash10 on Twit­ter

READ­ING >> Daniel Boone’s run to the top goes well be­yond the typ­i­cal four-year stint that most high school teams feature.

The Blaz­ers go way be­yond that.

A group that’s played to­gether since well be­fore mid­dle school fi­nally achieved one of its ul­ti­mate goals on Satur­day night, earn­ing the pro­gram’s first Berks Boys Vol­ley­ball League ti­tle with a 3-0 straight-set sweep of Gover­nor Mif­flin at Wy­omiss­ing High School.

“It’s amaz­ing,” said se­nior cap­tain Ian Rathgeb. “We’ve all been play­ing to­gether since we were in mid­dle school, so this is some­thing that we’ve been aim­ing for since we were kids.

“It all started with the net back in (Boone team­mate) Danny Dry’s back­yard. That’s where we all came to­gether and learned to play vol­ley­ball.” And now here they are. The Blaz­ers, top-seed from Berks Con­fer­ence I, ousted the de­fend­ing cham­pion Mus­tangs by set scores of 25-19, 25-21 and 25-21. The win im­proves Boone to 16-1 over­all (10-0 in Berks), open­ing up their Berks post­sea­son run with a straight-set win over Wil­son. For the year, the Blaz­ers’ lone loss came against Man­heim Town­ship in mid-April. Mif­flin drops to 14-6 over­all (8-2 Berks), fresh off their semi­fi­nal round win over Berks II top-seed Berks Catholic.

Rathgeb posted 12 kills and two aces to go along with a tide­turn­ing block dur­ing the sec­ond set to help the Blaz­ers re­cover from a 20-17 deficit. Se­nior Jami­son Burns had 13 digs to go along with four kills while se­nior Matt Lam­bert posted five kills and four digs. Se­nior Danny Dry fin­ished up with 29 as­sists and six digs.

“Ev­ery se­nior con­trib­utes,” said Boone head coach Tom Heffner. “Our cap­tains on pa­per are Ian Rathgeb in the mid­dle and Matt Lam­bert on the out­side but our lead­er­ship comes from ev­ery sin­gle po­si­tion on the court — that was tonight and all sea­son.

“It wasn’t one guy car­ry­ing the load. We did it as a team. That’s what makes this thing so sweet.”

What was sweet for one side turned out to be sour for the other.

In a sport so dom­i­nated by mo­men­tum swings, Mif­flin head coach Matt Davis was quick to note that the Mus­tangs’ in­abil­ity to close out the sec­ond set changed the en­tire match.

“If you can get that sec­ond game, you can get that mo­men­tum back,” he said. “I think they just did a better job of re­spond­ing to the big runs of the game. A 3-0 win can look like a blowout, or it can be a re­ally close match. We just weren’t able to get over the top in any of these games.”

The Mus­tangs played it tight through­out all three sets, but were ul­ti­mately done in by Boone’s runs.

Jonas Con­nor led Mif­flin with eight kills and four digs while Bran­don Allen fin­ished with seven kills. Jon Deme­ter had six kills while Ryan Lawes had 29 as­sists and four digs.

Much like the dirt patches and mole­hills that are likely still scat­tered through­out the Dry family’s back­yard, the Blaz­ers’ legacy will live on even af­ter the cur­rent crop of se­niors grad­u­ate.

“We knew that we could beat any­body in this county,” said Rathgeb. “It was all up to us.”

District Do­ings

As it stands cur­rently, Daniel Boone sits fourth in the District 3 Class AAA power rank­ings. Mif­flin is cur­rently 11th.

“We just talked about it with the guys,” said Davis. “The sea­son’s not over. A cou­ple district wins can help this a lit­tle bit. There is no easy team in the District 3 tournament, so we have to be able to re­group.”


Daniel Boone cel­e­brates with the Berks County tro­phy af­ter de­feat­ing Gover­nor Mif­flin for their first-ever county boys vol­ley­ball ti­tle.

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