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GENERATIONAL TALENT: Leah Exley Leaves Keystone Volleyball Program With Slew of Records and a Tremendous Legacy

KNOX, Pa. (EYT/D9) — She leaves with a slew of school records. Lots of wins. Program-defining victories. And lots and lots of memories.

Her numbers stack up against the elite of the elite who have played high school volleyball in the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference, as well as across the commonwealth.

But it’s what Leah Exley meant to the Keystone volleyball program beyond the numbers that made her a legend for the Panthers.

“She’s a once in a generation type of athlete, not only for was she does on the court, but her work ethic,” said Keystone volleyball coach Bryan Mong. “There’d be times where she’d say, ‘Hey, can you open the weight room up?’ I’d say, ‘Sure. Are there other people coming?’ And she’s like, ‘No, I just need to come. I haven’t worked out in a day.’

“You never had to motivate her,” Mong added. “She took it all upon herself. She knew that she was only gonna get out of it what she put into it, and she put a lot into it.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

This year alone, Exley finished with eye-popping statistics for the Panthers, who reached their third consecutive District 9 Class 2A championship match.

Exley had 244 kills, which broke her own single-season record. She also had 171 service points, 50 aces and 202 digs as a senior.

Exley finished with career marks in kills (638), service points (506) and aces (185). She also closed her time at Keystone with 392 digs.

The outside hitter was named KSAC volleyball MVP after her senior campaign.

“It’s such a huge honor,” Exley said. “I was in shock when I found out. After being named to the first team last year, I was hoping I could get MVP this year to finish on a high note. It’s not something I tried super hard to get, I just played my game.”

Her game was stunning.

She had double-digit kills in 13 matches this season.

Her name was well known throughout District 9. If you wanted to beat Keystone — which only three teams did all year — you had to try to slow down Exley.

Easier said than done.

“Being recognized as the league’s MVP is so special,” Exley said. “You have coaches from all the nearby schools who chose me. They had a big pool of good players to pick from and I got that top spot. Anyone else could’ve just as easily got it, but the coaches must’ve seen something in me I didn’t.”

Exley was not alone on the KSAC all-star team.

Senior libero Kennedy Kaye was a first-team selection. Senior middle hitter Sydney Bell landed a spot on the third team.

“I can’t do what I do without the help of my teammates,” Exley said. “I’m glad to see some of my fellow Lady Panthers on the All-Conference Teams as well. Honestly just great job to everyone this year. We had some tight matches that kept us on our toes.”

Exley helped Keystone break a 29-year District 9 championship drought in 2021. This year, the Panthers returned to defend their title, but lost a heartbreaker, falling in a five-set thriller to Kane.

Mong is hoping players like Exley will set the bar high for the future.

“The kids coming in and seeing that atmosphere — that gets them excited,” Mong said. That sets a good example for what we want to hopefully continue doing going forward after a player like Leah has left.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

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