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Boys Volleyball

Cord Pereira Sets Tone for Santa Barbara in Sweep at San Marcos

Santa Barbara’s Cord Pereira (5) sets up middle hitter Cooper Johnson for a spike. Pereira handed out 44 assists in the four-set victory over San Marcos.
Santa Barbara’s Cord Pereira (5) sets up middle hitter Cooper Johnson for a spike. Pereira handed out 44 assists in the four-set victory over San Marcos. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

Cord Pereira could probably turn the offensive linemen of the Santa Barbara High football team into good volleyball hitters.

The Dons senior setter made basketball standouts Bolden Brace and JM Cage and freshman Will Rottman look terrific Thursday night in a 25-15, 25-16, 22-25, 25-18 Channel League victory over rival San Marcos at the Thunderhut.

Pereira, a three-year starter, handed out 44 assists, helping the Dons to a .289 hitting percentage. Some of his sets were spectacular. On potential overpasses, he elevated, stretched high over the net and virtually froze the ball for a hitter to whack. He ran combination plays and quick sets that kept the San Marcos blockers guessing most of the night.

“I thought Cord did a good job spreading his offense most of the match,” Santa Barbara coach Chad Arneson said. “We were in system most of the time.”

Brace led a balanced hitting attack with 12 kills, Cage put down nine, Cooper Johnson and Henry Hancock each had seven and Rottman added six.

“The setter is the quarterback, he’s the Tom Brady,” Arneson said. “It makes your job a lot easier and that’s always nice to have."

On his ability to throw off the San Marcos block, Arneson said, “That’s part of our good passing with Bolden, Will and Piper Davis, our senior libero. (Cord) had a field day on who he can set. All we ask from a setter is to create one on ones, and Cord is doing his job on that.”

San Marcos coach Jon Newton agreed that Pereira played a key role in the match.

Cooper Johnson and Henry Hancock block San Marcos hitter Dane Pederson. Click to view larger
Cooper Johnson and Henry Hancock block San Marcos hitter Dane Pederson. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

“He’s a very good setter, and he’s played a lot of volleyball,” Newton said. “On top of that, they’ve got really athletic hitters, so they can run a quick offense; they’re just chucking the ball out there and have good, tall, athletic guys that were able to hit what was thrown at them. That’s a tough combo to stop when you have a good setter and athletic hitters. They put the ball away.”

Arneson said there’s more Pereira can do to help his team. “I want him to start dumping more, but we can work on that.”

After the Dons (2-0 in league) dominated the first two sets, San Marcos (1-1) found its rhythm and came out firing in the third set. Lefty Kevin Peters started pounding balls. He hit a blistering kill from the left side to give the Royals a 19-16 lead.

Santa Barbara pulled to within one at 21-20, but Royals setter Braeden Lisea went back to Peters for a side out. Ian McLain followed with a kill in the middle. A serving error and a solo block by Brace kept the Dons alive at 23-22. But McLain scored on a dink and Davis Schell served an ace to keep San Marcos in the match.

McLain led San Marcos with 13 kills, Peters had 11 and Jake Sofro added 10. Lisea had 38 sets.

“We got that win in game 3 and the nerves started to settle down. We started to play our volleyball. That helped but it wasn’t enough,” said Newton.

Rottman started Santa Barbara on a 4-0 run to give the Dons a 14-11 lead in the fourth set. A kill and a solo block by Hancock made it 17-13. The lead increased to five (25-20) when Pereira fed a quick set to Cage in the middle for a kill.

Rottman put away another Pereira set for the 24th point and Brace smashed a Johnson set off the block for the final point.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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