After getting pushed a little bit in the first two sets by Dos Pueblos, the Santa Barbara High boys volleyball team got into a rhythm that pleased coach Chad Arneson.
The Dons spread their attack around, got good blocking from their middles and served tough to dominate the third set in a 25-19, 25-21, 25-13 sweep in a Channel League match on Thursday at Sovine Gym.
Middle Kylan O’Connor keyed a 6-2 run at the start of the third set with a combination block with Will Rottman and a kill. Later, middle Aiden Douglas recorded a solo block and scored on a second-hit ball after a nice dig by Riley Roach to give the Dons a 13-5 lead.
Dos Pueblos went on a four-point run before Rottman sided out. O’Connor and setter Henry Haber combined on a block and O’Connor notched a solo block during a 5-2 run to boost the advantage to 18-11.
To finish things off, the Dons went to Rottman in the back row for a couple of kills, Sam Meister and Riley Roach on the outside and wrapped up the match on a solo block by Douglas.
“Obviously, we brought it in game three and that was good to see,” Arneson said. “We had good sequences of good setting and some good offense there. We were more deceptive and not as predictable. I thought we did a real good job on that. We kept them on their heels and it was pretty effective.”
The Stanford-bound Rottman paced the Santa Barbara attack with 15 kills, Meister had 10 and Douglas added five to go with four blocks. Haber dished out 31 assists.
Santa Barbara improves 3-0 in league and 8-5 overall. Dos Pueblos is 1-2 and 9-5.
In the first two sets, Dos Pueblos battled the Dons, which pleased Chargers coach Ehren Hug.
“Super pleased with the way we played tonight, the best volleyball we played all season,” he said. “I’m really proud of how we stuck out there. They were playing with some real fire in their eyes and it was great to watch. I didn’t take a lot of rah-rah motivation on my part.”
The Chargers pulled to 21-18 on a solo block by Baylor Huyck in the first set. A hitting error and a setting violation derailed their momentum.
Santa Barbara finished the set with a block from Roach and O’Connor and an ace by Matt Suh.
“I thought our serving was really good. We had seven aces,” said Arneson.
In the second set, DP capitalized on some Santa Barbara errors and got kills from Evan Thompson and Hogan to go up 15-11. Hogan led the Chargers with 11 kills and Thompson had four.
Santa Barbara regrouped and reclaimed the lead at 17-16 before Hogan scored from the back row to spark a three-point DP run. Kaiser Kurexi served an ace and Huyck crushed a Kurexi set in the middle for a 19-18 lead.
“I got to give them a lot of credit,” Arneson said of the Chargers. “They played really hard, they played great defense and they fought hard.”
Santa Barbara’s Will Rottman terminates a rally with a back-row kill against Dos Pueblos pic.twitter.com/CeFa0UGAjU
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Rottman got the momentum back for the Dons with back-to-back kills. A bad pass on a Suh serve followed by a DP hitting error put Santa Barbara ahead 22-19.
Rottman finished off the second set by turning on a ball and tooling his hit off the outside blocker’s hand.
Santa Barbara, which was ranked in this week’s CIF-SS Division 1-2 poll, will play host to third-ranked Loyola at noon on Saturday.
Dos Pueblos will host its 44th annual DP Invitational on Saturday at UCSB’s Thunderdome. Defending champion Alemany and runner-up Palisades are back in the 29-team field, which will also include San Marcos.