And the beat goes on.
The Bishop England volleyball team picked up its 54th consecutive Class AA playoff victory Thursday night with a 25-21, 25-13, 25-11 decision over Academic Magnet at Father O'Brien Gymnasium.
The Bishops will go after their 55th straight playoff win and 11th consecutive state championship Saturday when they play Woodruff. Woodruff advanced by beating Keenan in five games. The state championship match will be contested at 1:30 p.m. at White Knoll High School.
Bishop England coach Cindy Baggott said her team is focused on the state title streak -- not consecutive wins.
"We take it one match, one team at a time," Baggott said. "We think of the state championship streak. The winning streak hasn't come up at all this season."
The Raptors put up a fight in the first game, but came up short. After that, Bishop England took control and methodically pulled away to end the Raptors' season.
"I told you, we came out to play," Academic Magnet coach Sharon Williams said. "We were mentally ready. But after that first game, we weren't playing with that same energy,
that same intensity. We didn't substitute that first match, and it might have been have been my fault that we got a little tired. But we had three seniors and I wanted them to have the chance to win. The girls were looking forward to this match, but came up short."
Three Raptors played in their final match: Nicole Ufkes, Nicole Owens and Caroline Weachter.
The Raptors competed at the Class AA level for the first time this season, and Williams said she was surprised her team made such a deep playoff run. The team had a pair of freshmen in the starting lineup: Anne Warren and Katelyn Hill. Serena Hagerty will also return and is projected to be the captain next season.
Bishop England also has three seniors on the roster: Samantha Celek, CC Deas and Jean Fulghum. All three had key roles against the Raptors. Deas had 13 kills, Celek handed out 35 assists and Fulghum tallied 11 digs. Sophomore Ellie James recorded 11 kills and 10 digs.
The Bishops are rounding into perfect form in time for Saturday's championship. "We took some big hits because of graduation," Baggott said. "But the girls have stepped up. We've taken our knocks this year, but I told the girls the one that counts is the state championship."
And if the Bishops win Saturday, the consecutive state title count will increase to 11.