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Dos Pueblos Wraps Up Channel League Volleyball Title With Sweep at Santa Barbara

Parker Crossland's on-target setting is key to the Chargers' victory

Dos Pueblos blockers vs. Dons Click to view larger
Owen Katz of Dos Pueblos gets his hand on a ball hit by Santa Barbara’s Ben Roach. Assisting on the block in Curren Malhotra. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk phot)

Parker Crossland was playing the libero position two years ago when Dos Pueblos won the Channel League boys volleyball title.

As a senior, he now runs attack as the setter, and Thursday night he was stellar in the Chargers’ sweep at Santa Barbara for the league championship.

Crossland did a great job spreading the ball to all of his hitters in a 25-19, 25-23, 25-22 victory. 

The result gives DP a 6-1 record in league, with one match remaining at home Tuesday against Ventura. Santa Barbara falls to 5-2 and is tied with San Marcos for second place. They meet on Tuesday at Santa Barbara.

Crossland’s ability to move the ball around made it tough for Santa Barbara’s blockers. Curren Malhotra, Dax Galvan, Max Raphael, Owen Katz and Jimmy Kraemer often had one-on-one situations at the net.

Malhotra led the attack with 13 kills, Galvan put away nine and Katz posted eight in the middle.

“Having the guys around me means everything,” Crossland said of his stable of hitters. “If you can’t trust your hitters, you won't make as good of sets. I trust these guys with my life, I’ll give them anything.”

Said Malhotra of Parker: “He’s really consistent,  and it definitely helps to have great passers that get him the ball and he can do his thing. It’s great.”

Santa Barbara coach Chad Arneson gave props to the DP senior setter. 

“You got to give Parker Crossland a lot of credit, he set a very good game,” Arneson said. “They didn’t make too many errors. They were definitely pretty balanced out there.”

Crossland handed out 34 assist, had a couple of kills and added three digs. 

“He’s a great volleyball player, period,” DP coach Ehren Hug said. “He could play every position on the court … I think he has played every position except middle. He is a student of the game and his IQ is super high. He really grew into his leadership role as a setter and a senior. I thought tonight was some of his greatest work thus far. It was fun watching him.”

Curren Malhotra hits high over the block of Sam Meister (16)) and Kylan O’Connor of Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Curren Malhotra hits high over the block of Sam Meister (16)) and Kylan O’Connor of Santa Barbara. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

DP lost to Santa Barbara in four sets in their first meeting. 

“We played with more grit than we did at home,” said Crossland. “They had an unfortunate injury at the setter position (for tonight), but we still took it to them.”

Santa Barbara was without starting setter Dane Westwick. He injured his shoulder during the Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions over the weekend. 

The Dons went with Chase Nelson, who was making just his second start.

“Hats off to Chase to step in a fill some really big shoes for Dane,” said Hug.

“That’s life,” Arneson said of losing a key player like Westwick. “Every sports team has to deal with unfortunate circumstances and we can’t make excuses. DP, they played really well. They definitely made some great plays out there collectively as a team."

Santa Barbara had its chances in all three sets, but mistakes and the steady play of DP were too much to overcome. 

In the first set, the Dons rallied to tie the score at 17, but the Chargers got a block by Katz and a pair of kills from Malhotra to go on an 8-2 run and finish off the set.

Santa Barbara lost a 21-19 in the second set when it couldn’t make a play in transition and then got blocked by Katz, who took over down the stretch. The senior middle scored three of the Chargers’ final four points, including a kill on a sweet back set by Crossland.

“Owen had another great match tonight and Jimmy (Kraemer) was good as we needed him to be,” said of Hug of the DP middles. Parker’s got trust for those guys and, as you can tell, if you can trust your hitters good things are going to happen. He did great job spreading it around.”

“Without the middles, (the spread attack) really wouldn’t be possible,” Malhotra said. “They get up every time and they’re always there to distract the other team’s middles and create openings for the pin hitters. It makes us be able to do what we do.”

“Said Crossland of his middles: “(Santa Barbara) didn’t have an answer for either of them tonight. It was the same thing the last time, but they put it away for us this time.”

The score was tied at 21 in the third set when DP went on another late-scoring run to win the set and the match. Raphael sided out, Galvan followed with a block and Malhotra ripped a serve the Dons shanked before Will Rottman sided out at 24-22.

The Dons served into the net for the final point.

Ben Roach had 11 kills and Rottman put away 10 to lead Santa Barbara. 

“We had our chances,” Arneson said. “We couldn’t balance it out. We weren’t consistent on our passing. Chase was running all over the place.”

The Chargers were excited to achieve their goal of winning the league championship.

“It really means a lot for the whole team, considering we have 15 seniors. It was just an amazing game,” said Malhotra.

“We were fired up,” Hug said. “We had a great match against San Luis Obispo on Monday and our two practices were some of the best we had all season. (The guys) were just locked in and we were pretty darn good in serve receive tonight, and Parker spread the ball smartly. We got a lot of attackers involved. They were focused in, they were having a great match tonight.”


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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