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Boys Volleyball

Rottman’s 21 Kills Help Dons to 3-1 Win Over Royals in Battle for Second

Junior outside hitter helps Santa Barbara improve to 21-7 record; 6-2 in Channel League play

Volleyball player hits the all as defenders try to block Click to view larger
Santa Barbara High’s Will Rottman goes up for one of his 21 kills Tuesday night in a 3-1 victory over San Marcos High. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Will Rottman came out swinging on Tuesday night, and his Santa Barbara High teammates followed his lead in a 3-1 boys’ volleyball victory over San Marcos at J.R. Richards Gym.

The scores were 25-21, 25-23, 17-25, 25-15.

Rottman, a junior outside hitter, pounded 21 kills and hit .512 for the Dons, who improved to 21-7 and took second in the Channel League with a 6-2 record.

Parker Bittner led the Royals (5-3) with 14 kills and Andrew Giller had 24 digs.

Both teams are expected to make the CIF playoffs, along with league champion Dos Pueblos (7-1). San Marcos swept SBHS 3-0 on April 12 at The Thunderhut.

The Dons were playing their second match without their starting setter Dane Westwick, who is probably out for the year with an injury.

Santa Barbara coach Chad Arneson said a pregame comment helped fire up the Dons.

“One of their middles came over and said, ‘I can set for you tonight,’ ” Arneson stated. “I let our team know what he said before the match. I believe in my players and I trust them. They did a fantastic job.

“I went with a 6-2 tonight after running a 5-1 against DP. We got a little more balance tonight and it was easier to read the hitters.”

The Dons built leads of 12-6 and 17-9 in the opening set. The Royals went on a 9-3 run and pulled within two, 20-18, on a wide hit by the Dons. That was as close as they got, however, and SBHS capped the 25-21 win on a kill by senior Ben Roach and a putaway from the back-row by Rottman.

“We got off to a fast start and that was a confidence booster going into the playoffs,” said Rottman. “Our starting setter may be out for the season after getting hurt last week. It was good for Ethan (Chau) and Chase (Nelson), they did a great job in a big match in a big atmosphere.

Rottman had eight kills and an ace in the opening set and about half his kills for the match came from the back row.

“This match in particular, when I’m in the front row, there’s usually two blockers,” Rottman noted. “When I hit from the back row off the middle, you get the pin blockers up and I’m able to force it down off the block.”

Roach added 13 kills with just one error and added two blocks for the Dons. Chau and Nelson each had 18 assists. Libero Matt Suh had 13 digs.

“Matt Suh, I’ve got to give him a shout-out,” said Arneson. “He played like a senior libero and he’s a freshman. He played amazing. He was all over the place and got us into serving runs in Games 2 and 4.

“It was a great team win and we knew how important this game was to determine second place and maybe us winning a coin flip and getting a home playoff game.”

The Royals led for much of the second set and took a 19-17 advantage on a block by Bittner. Santa Barbara kept chipping away and tied it at 22 on a block by Aiden Douglas and Sam Meister. With the score knotted at 23, Rottman hit down off the block from the 10-foot line and the Royals hit the antenna on set point.

Santa Barbara has played two matches since losing their starting setter.

“It took that DP game to adjust to our setters,” said Roach, one of eight players who were honored on Senior Night. “Tonight, we changed it around to a 6-2 offense to get a bigger block on the opposite and I thought that was definitely the key factor to us winning. And Will Rottman, who always plays exceptional.

“Losing twice in Channel League isn’t what we expected going in. But finishing second will put us in a pretty good spot for the playoffs. Our setting and blocking were both good tonight.”

Ryder Rivadeneyra had 11 kills and 12 digs for San Marcos. Tanner Stevens also dug 12 balls.

The Royals came out hot in the third set, riding a 7-1 run that led to a 16-9 lead. The Dons turned the tables in the fourth, opening leads of 10-4, 14-6 and 21-12.

“It’s tough to play here, there’s always a lot of emotion,” said Royals’ assistant coach Dwayne Hauschild. “If we had come out a little stronger, a little more awake, we would have been alright. We used our middles great but we didn’t get the same production from outside that we usually do.

“Rottman was great in Game 1 and we finally slowed him down a little bit. His game knowledge and his ability to know when to slow it down or speed it up is really high. He’s exactly like his dad (former UCSB star David Rottman).”

Dave Loveton is a local freelance writer.

Santa Barbara High’s Will Rottman blocks a shot Tuesday night in a 3-1 victory over San Marcos High. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara High’s Will Rottman blocks a shot Tuesday night in a 3-1 victory over San Marcos High. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

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