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Boys Volleyball

Dos Pueblos Gets Total Team Effort in Four-Set Win at San Marcos

James Halleck of Dos Pueblos hits over the top of the San Marcos block during the Chargers’ four-set win at the Thunderhut. Click to view larger
James Halleck of Dos Pueblos hits over the top of the San Marcos block during the Chargers’ four-set win at the Thunderhut. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Coach Ehren Hug almost reached the maximum number of substitutes during Dos Pueblos’ four-set Channel League boys volleyball win at San Marcos on Thursday night.

Yet, even with all the players shuttling in and out of the lineup, the Chargers hardly missed a beat in their play. Hug got everyone playing time and they all produced in a 25-17, 25-18, 21-25, 25-14 victory at the Thunderhut.

“I got guys on the bench itching to get in the game, and they’re hungry,” said Hug. “Every time I look back they think it’s them and they’re jumping out of their seats. That’s the type of hungry player you want on your team. It makes for some fun volleyball.”

Curran Malhotra elevates on a jump serve for Dos Pueblos. Click to view larger
Curran Malhotra elevates on a jump serve for Dos Pueblos. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Max Raphael was a perfect example of DP’s bench production. He’d been out for most of the season with an injury, but you couldn’t tell by his play in the fourth set.  He blasted a pair of kills and had big two blocks during an eight-point run that took the Chargers from a 9-9 tie to a 17-9 lead. 

“He’s been nursing some injuries, so we’ve been bringing back kind of slow,” Hug said of the 6-foot-3 Raphael, who finished the match with five kills. ”He didn’t step on the court until last week when we played Rio Mesa. We’re pretty happy to have him back. He brings a lot of positive energy.”

The result moves DP to 4-1 in league play and 15-3 overall; San Marcos is 2-3, 8-7.

DP setter Alex Cheng spread the ball around effectively. Curran Malhotra led the balanced attack with 12 kills, James Hallock had 11, Dax Galvan and middle Marcellous Gossett each tallied nine. 

Hug liked what he saw from Malhotra. “I thought tonight he was swinging super confidently and going after it,” the coach said. Malhotra also had a pair of aces, including a nasty, hard curving serve that handcuffed the San Marcos passer.

Libero Dan Willett was solid in the back row and served tough. He was serving when DP went on its eight-point run in the fourth set,

“That serving run in the fourth set definitely took us to the next level,” Hug said. “He’s definitely one of our leaders on the court.”

Ryan Fay had a big night for San Marcos, pounding a match-best 16 kills. Jake Sofro added 11 kills.

“He had a great practice yesterday and he was definitely fired up for this game,” San Marcos coach Kyle Benskin said of Fay. “It was good for him to come out and show what he can do.”

The Royals played with fire in the third set. After Fred Ysebrands gave them the lead for good at 17-16, Sofro followed with a pair of kills, Ryder Rivadeneyra recorded a stuff block and middle Parker Bittner had a kill to open up a 21-16 advantage

“The third set came down to our effort and the energy we put in,” Benskin said. “We started off slow in the first two sets . In the third set we came with energy and started to play our type of volleyball. In the fourth set we died out.”

Benskin praised Hug for getting the most out of all his players.

“I credit Ehren Hug,” he said. “His entire team was ready to go; hitters everywhere, really smart hitters. They know where to put the ball.”

Hug was pleased to see everyone contribute in the match.

“I’ve got so many weapons coming off the bench and starting on the court,” he said. “As a coach it puts you at ease to have all those weapons at your disposal at any time — when you can spin the dial and it works.”

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

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