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Boys Volleyball

Dos Pueblos Falls in Five Against Edison in CIF Opener

Dos Pueblos let a pair of sets get away from it and dropped a five-set match against Edison in the first round of the CIF Division 1 boys volleyball playoffs on Tuesday night at Sovine Gym. The scores were 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, 13-25, 15-7.

Eli Wopat put away 16 kills in his final match before heading off to Stanford and Curren Malhotra and Jack Burns added 11 and 10, respectively. Will Parker gave DP outstanding back-row defense, but it wasn't enough for the Channel League co-champions to overcome a scrappy Edison team that played good defense and served tough.

In the 15-point fifth set, Trent Williams went on a five-point serving run, which included a pair of aces, to open up a 6-1 lead for Edison. Burns had a kill and a stuff block to cut the deficit to 7-4 before Edison pulled away behind the hitting of Tyler Power and DP mistakes.

"It was tough but if there was a way to go out, it was to go out in five like we did," said Wopat of the match. "We played as hard as we could. They were on fire but I thought we did well. It was a fun game but it's still tough to lose."

Like it has in most matches this season, Dos Pueblos (15-11) started strong. It roared to an 18-13 lead in the first set before mistakes started mounting. Edison capitalized, started playing better defensively and rallied to win the set.

"We made a lot of hitting errors," said DP coach Ehren Hug. "I believe we made four or five hitting errors toward then and we just stopped attacking, and in this sport you got to pedal to the metal, you got to be aggressive, you got to attack. We started second-guessing how good they were playing up to 18 and we kind of fell on the sword in that first one."

Dos Pueblos regrouped, won the next set and appeared on its away to a win in the third set. A big hit by Elliot Brainerd gave DP a 22-20 lead. Powers hit back-to-back kills and Edison tied the score at 23-23 on a DP hitting error. A block for point and an ace by by Powers gave Edison another comeback win.

Williams blasted 20 kills and Powers hammered 19 to pace Edison, which advances to a second-round match against No. 2 seed Loyola.

A stuff block by Adam Shields and a crushing spike by Malhotra sparked a 5-1 run by DP to open up a 12-5 lead in the third set. Wopat blocked for a point and served an ace and Malhotra dropped a beautiful dink shot over the block for a 21-11 advantage. Wopat put an exclamation point on the set victory with a straight down spike for the final point.

Dos Pueblos scored the first point of the fifth set on a Edison hitting error, but back-to-back kills by Powers and the serving of Williams put Edison in control for the rest of the set.

Hug talked about seniors Wopat and Brainerd, who were sophomores on the varsity when he took over the job from Chris Hughes.

"We came into this journey together," Hug said. "They've just been workhorses for me all the way. It's nice to have competitive sophomores that want to learn the game and have progressed over the years. Eli is going on to bigger and greater volleyball, and I couldn't be happier with the way Elliot played tonight. He's just a great leader. A little bit calmer and quiet but when he puts one down or blocks one he looks like Van Damme from "Bloodsport." I love that kid, and we'll always be connected. Those are my guys and I love them."

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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