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Boys Volleyball

Owen Katz Plays Big in Middle for Dos Pueblos in Win Over San Marcos

Dax Galvan hitting for Dos Pueblos against San Marcos block Click to view larger
Dax Galvan of Dos Pueblos hits between San Marcos blockers Parkner Bittner (11) and Fred Ysebrands. Galvan had 13 kills. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

A key part in Dos Pueblos’ four-set volleyball victory over San Marcos on Thursday night was a short memory.

DP quickly let go of blowing a 24-19 lead and losing the second set and won the next two to beat the Royals for the second time this season and stay in first place in the Channel League. The match scores were 28-26, 24-26, 25-13, 26-24.

Middle Owen Katz played a huge role in the DP win, recording 12 kills and six blocks. Curren Malhotra led the team with 20 kills and Dax Galvan put away 13, as the Chargers improved to 5-1 in league play.

Clay Nerdin led San Marcos (2-2 in league) with 12 kills and Ryder Rivadeneyra had 11.

Dos Pueblos recovered from being down a set point (26-25) in the first set behind a couple of  plays from Galvan. He sided out to tie the score and, after the Chargers went up 27-26 on a San Marcos hitting error, he served a ball that the Royals mishandled on a hand pass for the winning point.

“Our passing fell apart for us,” San Marcos coach Kyle Benskin said of the difference in the match. “You can see when we can’t pass a ball, our offense and defense and everything else breaks down for us. Our key tonight was our passing. That’s where we lost it.”

Parker Crossland, DP setter. Click to view larger
Parker Crossland dishes out a set to Dos Pueblos hitter during the Chargers’ four-game victory over San Marcos. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

In the second set, Galvan blasted a couple of kills and scored another off the block after a Curren Malhotra diving dig to spark the Chargers to a 21-14 lead.  Galvan notched another kill to put DP at set point, 24-19.

But the Chargers couldn't close out the set.

San Marcos sided out and proceeded to score four unanswered points to tie the score at 24-24. The Royals then turned a terrific dig by libero Andrew Giller into a kill by Nerdin to take a 25-24 lead. They won the set when DP was whistled for a violation on back-row attack.

“I told the guys, ‘Hey, each point at a time,’” Benskin said of the comeback. “Each point starts with a pass, a set and a hit and they just did it. They were smart with the ball.”

The Royals, however, couldn’t sustain the momentum from that late comeback win.

“DP stayed aggressive. Credit to Ehren Hug and the way he’s coaching them,” said Benskin.

The stunning loss didn't faze the Chargers at all. Behind the hitting of Galvan and Malhotra, they took control at the start of the third set and built a 14-6 lead after an ace from Erik Hollstein. DP never let up and won going away.

“You got to keep playing,” said DP’s Hug. “One time last season we were in the same situation. You never know what’s going to happen, you just keep playing for one point. (San Marcos) pulled it out and obviously that hurt. (But) my guys were fine when we came over (to the other side of the court). They knew there was another set that had to happen and they capitalized. They came out strong again. I was happy with the way we started sets tonight.”

A couple of kills by Nerdin ignited a 6-2 run to give San Marcos a 17-13 lead in the fourth set. But Malhotra brought DP back with a a pair of kills and Holstein delivered his second ace to tie the score at 17-17.

Bittner vs. Katz. Click to view larger
Owen Katz of Dos Pueblos tries to block a middle attack by Parker Bittner of San Marcos. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

The lead went back and forth until the Chargers blocked a San Marcos attack and Galvan put the ball away in transition for a 23-22 lead. Middle Jimmy Kraemer followed with a kill on a ball the Royals dug over the net to put DP up by two.

San Marcos came back and tied the score on a DP hitting error and a block by Parker Bittner and Fred Ysebrands. The score was tied again at 24 after Malhotra sided out and he put another ball away for the match-winning point.

Hug praised the hitting and blocking from Katz in the middle.

“He was in the zone,” Hug said. “Owen had a monster night; not his first time out, he’s been there before. He’s a gentle giant but carries a pretty heavy stick. Stoked for him tonight. 

“We want to get more production out of our middles because it helps our pins.”

Malhotra agreed. “Our middles came into play a lot,  they were on fire," he said. "Owen, he only had two (kills) that weren’t straight down. It really helped having him there because it really opened up the outsides and the backsides for us and for me to put the ball down.”

Katz understood the importance of the match and knew he had to step up and deliver.

“This was a real important game for the Channel League championship and the energy was just way higher,” he said. “The connection between me and Parker (Crossland) was really good. That’s what really made the difference.”

Galvan provided more power firepower for DP on the outside.

“Dax, he’s just solid. He’s going to give an 100 (percent) every night and no excuses, he’s just there and ready to play all the time,” said Hug, who also gave a shoutout to setter Parker Crossland.

“He can put it anywhere most nights and I’m really happy the way he’s been spreading the offense around. He’s a competitor and he trusts a lot of his hitters. That’s why we get such spread-out production. It’s nice,” said Hug.

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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