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Boys Volleyball

Santa Barbara Is Better Down the Stretch, Beats Dos Pueblos in Four Sets

Dons go on late runs in sets 2, 3, 4 and hand Chargers their first loss in full match

SBHS volleyball beats Dos Pueblos in four sets Click to view larger
Santa Barbara’s Will Rottman (25) and Brendan Hann are all over the attack by Owen Katz of Dos Pueblos. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

It was all working for Dos Pueblos in the first set of Tuesday’s boys volleyball showdown with Santa Barbara High. The Chargers connected on Parker Crossland’s assortment of sets and were rewarded with a 25-17 victory.

But Santa Barbara bounced back, making the plays down the stretch during the next three sets to take the Channel League match in four at Sovine Gym and hand DP its first defeat in non-tournament competition. The scores were 17-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-19.

Will Rottman paced the Dons with a 27-kill performance.

"Late in the game went in our favor because me made plays," said Rottman. "It came down to the energy of our team and the effort in just making those defensive plays. That’s what gets us excited and that’s kind of what we've struggled with all year, the defense. 

"That’s what was missing in Game 1. We kind of got rolling (after that) and our offense comes behind us."

Curren Malhotra of DP hits against Santa Barbara Click to view larger
Curren Malhotra of Dos Pueblos hits against the Santa Barbara block of BenRoach (23) and Parker Mees. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

DP coach Ehren Hug liked what he saw from his team in the first set. 

"We passed really well in that first set," he said. "I don’t think we had too many hitting errors. We came out really fired up and I guess we weren’t able to keep that momentum going through the second set and all through the rest of the night."

Santa Barbara capitalized on a DP hitting error to break a 15-15 tie in the second set, and the Dons scored two more points on an ace serve by Chase Nelson and a ball handling violation against the Chargers to go up 18-15.

The Dons put the game away with a five-point run on three kills from Rottman, a putaway by Aiden Douglas and a mishandled DP set.

Santa Barbara coach Chad Arneson credited Nelson's serving as a key to igniting the comeback. "He jumped served four in row in game two and that kind of sparked us," said the coach.

Santa Barbara once again came up big in the latter stages of the third set. After scoring off a service error and DP hitting mistake, a blast by Ben Roach off a block gave the Dons their first lead of the set at 22-21. Douglas followed with a tip that the Chargers were unable to control, DP hit a ball wide and Rottman buried a back-row attack to complete a 6-0 run and finish the set.

"You got to give them credit," Arneson said of the Chargers' play in the opening set. "They outserved us and outpassed us. We settled down."

He credited Roach's leadership for keeping the team focused.

The fourth set was tied at 18 when Santa Barbara took advantage of DP errors and scored three straight points. 

DP's Owen Katz ended the run with a kill in the middle to make it 21-19. But the Dons responded with four consecutive points: a kill by freshman Sam Meister, a DP hitting error, a block by Roach and a clinching block by Meister.

"We weren’t blocking that well and we started getting touches on the ball," Arneson said. "And, we were finally making better reads on our team defense and we were communicating better. That was huge. When you're talking out there things become a lot easier."

Dos Pueblos, meanwhile, couldn't overcome its mistake

"We just struggled trying to get out of serve-receive," said Hug. "Santa Barbara's service game wasn’t too difficult tonight but it was in, and that’s always an important aspect. We couldn’t get out of a rotation at the end of the third and the end of the fourth."

He added: "Our overall hustle and attentiveness to get on to the next play was pretty consistent, but we just had a few mechanics fall to the wayside."

The victory raised Santa Barbara’s records to 13-6 overall and 3-0 in Channel League. Dos Pueblos is 11-1 and 2-1 in league.

Dos Pueblos had a balanced hitting attack, with Dax Galvan collecting 15 kills, Curren Malhotra contributing 12 and Max Raphael adding 11. Galvan had 19 digs and Sam Chase picked up 17 to lead the defense.

Dos Pueblos plays Ventura, and Santa Barbara takes on San Marcos on Thursday.

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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