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Royals Rev Up to Sweep Ventura

San Marcos win keeps CIF playoff hopes alive, sets up repeat match Friday.

Firing on all cylinders wasn’t exactly the phrase that stuck for the San Marcos volleyball team this season. But on Tuesday night, the Royals looked like a well-oiled veteran squad, disposing of Ventura in three straight games, 27-25, 25-13, 25-16.

The timing was especially sweet for the Royals, who would have missed the CIF playoffs with a loss. Instead, San Marcos stays in the postseason pursuit with a repeat match at Ventura on Friday to decide the third-place spot in the Channel League.

Old and new faces sparked the Royals’ win Tuesday. Building on his scorching junior season, Andrew Grimes led all hitters with 18 kills, adding two blocks and five digs. But it was the Royals’ Frank Nordin who stole the spotlight, posting seven kills on .545 hitting. Nordin was dominant at the net, tallying five blocks, including three solo stuffs, and contributing significantly to the decibel levels in Bob Tuttle gymnasium.

"Frank was volcanic tonight," San Marcos coach Jon Lee noted. "His eruptions of energy are infectious."

The rest of the squad was privy to the momentum, compiling a season-high 15 team digs in the three-game match.

"We’re turning it on as a team at the right time," Lee said.

San Marcos’ passing was particularly impressive. Royals’ junior outside hitter Neil Greene, who passed the majority of the serves Tuesday, contributed an "incredibly solid performance," added Lee. Greene also tallied five kills and an ace on the night.

San Marcos improves to 6-9 overall and 2-5 in league. The Royals host Buena at home Thursday in Lee’s final regular season match of his career. Lee is retiring this season after 23 years as head coach of the boys and girls teams.

San Marcos travels to Ventura on Friday for a CIF play-in match.  Game time is yet to be determined.

In JV action, meanwhile, San Marcos fell in three games to Ventura, 25-22, 24-26, 14-16. The Royals jumped to an early lead in game one, dominating the net in the first frame with nine kills and three aces as a team. But momentum swung to the Cougars in game two. Despite a 6-1 run late in the game, Ventura prevailed. The final frame remained close, as the Royals saw a 12-9 lead evaporate, before losing 16-14. Caleb Ibsen led the Royals with five kills, while Ian McFarlane added four kills and a block.

Seamus McKiernan coaches junior varsity volleyball at San Marcos High.

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