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Boys Volleyball

Dos Pueblos Charges Back, Beats San Marcos in Channel League Volleyball Opener

Marcellous Gossett of Dos Pueblos hits through the block of Parker Bittner, left, and Ryan Fay of San Marcos. Gossett had 11 kills. Click to view larger
Marcellous Gossett of Dos Pueblos hits through the block of Parker Bittner, left, and Ryan Fay of San Marcos. Gossett had 11 kills. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

The momentum swings were crazy in Tuesday night’s Channel League volleyball match between crosstown rivals San Marcos and Dos Pueblos.

The last big swing went the Chargers’ way, as they bounced back from the brink of losing the match in four sets and beat the Royals in five, 28-26, 26-28, 23-25, 25-22, 15-10, in the Channel League opener for both teams at Sovine Gym.

The Chargers, down 2-1 in sets, trailed 19-10 in the fourth. They started creeping back when a reinvigorated Curren Malhotra was reinserted into the lineup and Marcellous Gossett started taking charge in the middle, blocking balls like he sacked quarterbacks as a defensive end on the football team or grabbed rebounds for the basketball team.

Malhotra, who had trouble putting the ball away in the third set, came back stronger than ever in the fourth. He started Dos Pueblos on a five-point run with one of his team-high 20 kills. That was followed by a combo block by Gossett and Gabe Hendlin. After a San Marcos hitting error, Gossett and Malhotra combined for another block and Gossett stuffed one solo to make it 20-18. 

Sam Chase was at the service line when Chargers went on their big run.

The Chargers tied the score at 22 on a Gossett kill and Malhotra buried one from the outside to give them the lead, 23-22. Gossett recorded another solo block, and DP completed the comeback on a San Marcos hitting error.

“They just showed some resilience,” DP coach Ehren Hug said.  “We were down to our final timeout and they just stayed with it. I think this team really grasped the fact that you can really change this sport on just one play, as long as you just mentally engage. It took us while, until the end of the fourth set, but I really like the mental focus of the squad this year.”

Curren Malhotra of Dos Pueblos hits against San Marcos blocker Jake Sofro during the Chargers’ five-set win. Click to view larger
Curren Malhotra of Dos Pueblos hits against San Marcos blocker Jake Sofro during the Chargers’ five-set win.  (Barry Punzal/ Noozhawk photo)

Asked about Malhotra’s contributions, Hug said, “Curren is doing great this season. We got a lot of guys contributing in a lot of different ways, and sometimes as a coach you got to spin the dial and find out who’s working and at what time. I do really like that this team is deep this year — a lot of great arms on the pins and we got great middles. I got everybody in tonight. Everybody came in and made a contribution and was part of this victory.”

San Marcos coach Kyle Benskin said his team got overconfident after taking the big lead in the fourth set.

“Honestly, I think we thought we had that set won, so we lost our intensity and they started making play after play,” he said. “I think it was the excitement of the crosstown rivalry. We were up big and I think our guys thought they had it won and DP continued to fight and never gave up.”

The momentum from the huge comeback carried over to the fifth set for DP. A Malhotra kill for a sideout gave the Chargers a 6-4 lead and started a three-point run. Hendlin followed with a block and San Marcos was whistled for a setting violation to make in 8-4.

Malhotra continued to do damage, recording a couple more kills to give the Chargers a 10-6 lead.

San Marcos never recovered. James Halleck put the final point away for DP, which improved to 9-1 on the season.

San Marcos (5-5) did a nice job of bouncing back from a tough first-set defeat. Behind the hitting of Jake Sofro (23 kills) and Ryan Fay (12 kills), the Royals fought off three set points in the second set and won 28-26. Fay scored the last two points on a tip and a spike.

The third set also was tight. A solo block by Liam Morando gave San Marcos the lead 19-18. A couple of DP hitting errors and a Sofro point from the back row made it 22-18. The Chargers regained some momentum and pulled to 23-22 on a Gossett side out. A Ryder Rivadenyra kill  gave the Royals their 24th point before Gossett sided out again. But DP served into the net, giving San Marcos the win and a 2-1 advantage.

The Royals held the momentum for most of the fourth set, but DP kept battling, got it back and never let it go.

Gossett had 11 kills and four solo blocks, Halleck contributed eight kills off the bench and Owen Katz added five kills and two stuff blocks for DP.

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