San Marcos went dig-for-dig with rival Dos Pueblos and rallied with late scoring runs to knock out the Chargers in four sets in a lively Channel League girls volleyball match in an oven-like Thunderhut on Thursday night. The scores were 25-22, 25-22, 14-25, 25-23.
The Royals move into second place behind undefeated Ventura with a 3-2 record while Dos Pueblos falls to 2-3.
Ady Colburn and Jenna MacFarlane paced the Royals with double-doubles. Colburn played with tremendous energy and posted 12 kills and 17 digs. MacFarlane didn’t let a sprained ankle slow her down as she finished with 12 kills and 12 digs. Molly Kirkbride provided a spark in the middle with 10 kills. The Royals also got contributions from freshman Grace Mathews off the bench.
Libero Delaney Werner led a charged-up San Marcos defensive effort with 21 digs and setter Taylor Hantgin added 17.
“It was a really big team effort tonight,” San Marcos co-coach Tina Brown said. “Jenna has not practiced for a couple of days because of her ankle, so we brought up Grace Mathews, a freshman from the JV team, to play a really big role for us tonight and she did. She passed, stayed composed and scored us some points. So with her and Dani (Dusebout) sharing that spot, they did a really good job and balanced (the attack) more.”
MacFarlane was thrilled to see other players take charge with her not being 100 percent.
“(The ankle) bothered me a little bit,” she said. “I was definitely off my game but I was really relying on my teammates to step it up and they really did. I was really proud of that.”
Colburn was one of those players who took charge.
“She’s been money at times we needed her and it excites the whole team when she does it,” said Brown.
DP coach Dillan Bennett recognized Colburn’s impact on the match.
“Their right side with Ady and Kendall (Williams) stepped up big time,” he said. “They played great on the right side and that put a lot of pressure on our block.
“It’s tough to put a team away that had the passion and energy tonight like San Marcos did,” he added.
Ahead 20-19, MacFarlane hit down the line to start the Royals on a four-point run in the first set. MacFarlane scored from the back row, hit a tough serve to force an overpass that was blocked for a point and ripped a kill for a 24-19 lead. Kirkbride tipped for the winning point.
The Royals were down 18-17 in second set when Kirkbride sided out to begin another five-point run. Again, the rotation put MacFarlane at the service line and she forced a bad pass and scored another point with an ace. Mathews hit off a DP block and Leila Parker scored the fifth straight point to make it 22-18 before Danica Minnich got a side out for the Chargers.
Minnich led DP in kills with 14.
A block by Kirkbride, a Colburn dig and a Colburn kill off the tape finished the set for San Marcos.
Dos Pueblos took command at the start of the third set, outscoring the Royals 9-1. Behind the hitting of Ally Mintzer, the Chargers expanded their lead to 20-9. Mintzer finished with 12 kills.
Both teams gave an all-out effort on defense, which resulted in several long rallies. Lauren Buie had 23 digs to lead five Chargers in double figures. Danica Minnich had 20 digs for a double-double, Alison Minnich picked up 20, Jackie Holmes 17 and Mikayla Budtzke 11.
Brown praised her defenders for making a difference.
“At the end of the third set, we said we have to outdig them right now, nothing drops. And we did a good job of that. Delaney Werner was absolute money for us,” said Brown.
In the fourth set, Danica Minnich and Mintzer sparked DP to a 10-5 lead. But San Marcos crept back. A dig by Erin Holehouse and an ace by Colburn highlighted a four-point run that tied the score at 13-13. DP regained the lead at 16-13 behind a tip by Danica Minnch and block by 6-foot-3 freshman Danielle LaGrange.
A Dos Pueblos hitting error during a long rally started San Marcos on five-point flurry to give the Royals an 18-16 advantage. Mathews came up big with a kill off a block, Williams scored on a deep shot and combined with Kirkbride for block. A DP mixup after a dig was the fifth point of the rally.
Dos Pueblos never quit and tied the score at 21-all on hits by LaGrange and Mintzer. Colburn got a sideout and Dusebout served an ace for a two-point San Marcos lead.
The Royals got one point back before Colburn sided out for a 24-22 advantage. Mintzer scored again for DP but the Chargers served the next ball out to end the match.
“It was probably one of the best team efforts we’ve had, where everybody had to contribute to win that match,” said Brown. “It wasn’t just one kid, and that was nice to see.”