Dos Pueblos, ranked fifth in Division 2, visited Ventura to complete the regular season Thursday night. Having clinched second place in the Channel League, the Chargers were looking for a tuneup going into the playoffs. They got what they wanted: a sweep of the Cougars, 25-17, 25-17, 25-18. The games were eerily similar; in each case the Chargers ran out to a big early lead (9-1, 9-2, and 7-2) and coasted home.
The usual suspects were in evidence, as Ben Johnson led the Chargers with nine kills, Will McCracken had six and Derek Martinez chipped in eight digs. By the middle of the second game, however, Dos Pueblos coach Chris Hughes was able to start substituting freely.
Those who often are required to sit and wait once again proved their worth, as Mark Nuttman crushed one of his three kills to finish game two and Brian Schoenberger dominated game three with three kills and two stuff blocks. Particularly crowd-pleasing was a rare front-row appearance at opposite hitter by defensive specialist Adam Biederman, who got his first kill of the season on a two set. Biederman then went back to serve and setter Ryan Beall gave him a chance in the pipe. Biederman delivered again, to the delight of the bench.
Late in game three, a few loose plays by the Chargers were combined with some effective hitting from Ventura star Taylor Comden, and the Cougars closed to 17-22. Martinez made two perfect passes, and Beall, who had been spreading the ball around, decided to go back to his old partner, Johnson, who bounced back-to-back one sets. Schoenberger won one final joust at the net and the Chargers headed back up the coast.
Playoff seedings will be announced Monday, and the Chargers can most likely look forward to a home game in the first round.
Will Beall is a Dos Pueblos High parent.