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Boys Volleyball

Dos Pueblos Relives Glory Days Before Sweeping San Marcos

Eli Wopat of Dos Pueblos crushes a ball inside the 10-foot line off San Marcos libero Ben Beifuss.
Eli Wopat of Dos Pueblos crushes a ball inside the 10-foot line off San Marcos libero Ben Beifuss. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

The Dos Pueblos boys volleyball team carried the positive energy it had all day at school into Tuesday night’s Channel League match with San Marcos and went out and blitzed its crosstown rival, 25-15, 25-22, 25-22, at Sovine Gym.

The Chargers wore the mustard yellow and blue warm-up suits of the 1998 Dos Pueblos CIF Division 2 champions on campus Tuesday and the mojo from those hand-me-downs was a source of inspiration.

“They are the original warm-ups and we always wear them when we play San Marcos at home, so it’s a tradition,” said DP star outside hitter Eli Wopat, who paced the DP attack with 21 kills. “We wore them to school to kind of spread the word we have a home game against SM. It’s a fun tradition we do. The team that won CIF wore them in 1998. They’re not very attractive but they’re fun to wear.”

“They had a little lucky juice in them,” said DP coach Ehren Hug of the warm-ups. “The boys were wearing them around campus and it was a good spirited day. We came in super confident and super positive. We wanted to compete and we really fought hard tonight.”

The Chargers were on fire from the start and took San Marcos out of its game.

“I think it was our defense and our energy,” Wopat said of the difference in the match. “In the first set, we really got pumped and that got us going and shook SM. We were able to come out of the game open swinging and firing and they couldn’t handle it. They slowly got back in but our defense was able to help us. In tight situations, we had the back row getting swings and we were able to spread the offense.

Trey Klopstein makes a diving save of a ball as Dos Pueblos libero Parker Crossland looks on. Click to view larger
Trey Klopstein makes a diving save of a ball as Dos Pueblos libero Parker Crossland looks on. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

“It was a team effort. We finally got it to click. I think that was it. I give it to our back row; our passing was amazing tonight.”

The Chargers (3-1 in league) won most of the rallies thanks to a scrambling defense.

“We put more pressure on them and that pressure kept us in the game in the tight situations when we were down or it was tied,” said Wopat.

Libero Parker Crossland was solid in the back row for the match and from the service line in the third set. He broke a 21-21 tie with a tough serve that resulted in a kill for Adam Shields (6 kills). The Chargers scored two more points on his serve for a 24-21 advantage.

“We were really happy with his serving down the stretch in the third set,” said Hug of Crossland, who had 17 digs and two service aces. “He came out of his shell tonight. He had a lot of balls hit in his area and he made a lot of plays that we’ve wanted him to go out there and get. He’s a fantastic passer and his defense is coming along nicely, so we’re really happy how he ran the floor tonight.”

Ian McLain was a force in the middle for San Marcos with seven kills and four blocks. But the Royals couldn’t utilize him more because of passing breakdowns.

“It helps when we get a pass and run him,” said San Marcos coach Jon Newton.

Dane Peterson had nine kills and Jake Sofro added eight for the Royals, who are 2-2 in league.

The Royals made things tough on themselves from the start.

“We didn’t really show up in the beginning,” Newton said. “We kind of started to figure it out a little. It came down to execution. We made errors and they executed. They played good volleyball, they were pretty solid and they didn’t make a ton of errors. We’d get a run and then shoot ourselves in the foot.

“It’s a lot mental,” he added. “It’s the same thing that happened against Santa Barbara. We got off to a slow start, played nervous, we weren’t executing, we weren’t playing our volleyball and they took advantage of that and we just couldn’t get back into it.”

Newton is positive the team will turn things around in the second round of league play.

“It’s getting the guys going, getting them to execute early on instead of playing catch-up. We didn’t help ourselves tonight.”

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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