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Girls Volleyball

Everything Clicks for San Marcos Volleyball in Sweep Over Ventura

Royals move into sole possession of first place in Channel League

Setter Taylor Hantgin effectively spread the ball around for San Marcos in its sweep of Ventura at the Thunderhut. Click to view larger
Setter Taylor Hantgin effectively spread the ball around for San Marcos in its sweep of Ventura at the Thunderhut. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

“This is the team we’ve been waiting to see,” a proud San Marcos co-coach Tina Brown said after watching the Royals dismantle defending Channel League and CIF champion Ventura in three sets on Thursday night at the Thunderhut.

The Royals were firing on all cylinders in the 25-18, 25-21, 25-16 sweep that puts them alone in first place in the Channel League at 5-1. 

“I think everybody played a really great game serving, defense, offense, blocking… we couldn’t have done it without everyone,” said libero Grace Mathews, who led a stellar defensive effort with 22 digs. “Even the bench was cheering us on, the crowd… it was a fun game.”

The Royals seemed to pick up where they left off after the last three sets against Dos Pueblos, a come-from-behind five-set win.

“You know, if you got to win three games, you might as well win the first three. Keep it simple,” said Brown.

Setter Taylor Hantgin did a nice job spreading the ball around. The kill leaders are Bella Johnson and Kendall Williams with 10 apiece followed by Brynn Sofro win the middle with eight kills and Jenna MacFarlane on the outside with seven.

“Taylor is a little spark plug for us,” Brown said. “She can do things and make it really easy. She doesn’t have to do anything real complicated as a setter and she does it so well; she just runs a nice smooth offense.”

Brynn Sofro makes a diving save to keep the ball in play for San Marcos. Click to view larger
Brynn Sofro makes a diving save to keep the ball in play for San Marcos. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

The San Marcos defense made a huge difference. Led by Mathews, the Royals made dig after dig against Ventura’s aggressive attack.  Williams contributed 11 digs, giving her a double-double, while MacFarlane and Hantgin picked up 10 apiece.

“We did a good job of commit blocking to certain hitters, so (the blockers) would commit and channel it to Grace,” explained Brown. “That worked really well for us. Our defense knew where the ball was going to come.”

Said Mathews:  “I couldn’t really do it without the blockers. They made it pretty easy for me, taking off what they’re supposed to do. For them to do their job, I was able to do my job.”

And with two more wins, they’ll accomplish their goal of winning Channel League.

“We have the motivation to win league,” said Mathews of the team coming together and clicking on the court. “That’s been our goal since the beginning of the season. We’ve been working hard in practice trying to accomplish that."

“We’re  so proud of them, Dwayne (Hauschild) and I,” Brown said. “Their energy just coming out of the gates was awesome.”

Molly Kirkbride of San Marcos hits away from the Ventura block during the third set. Click to view larger
Molly Kirkbride of San Marcos hits away from the Ventura block during the third set. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)
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