Cougars pinch Royals 17-15 in fifth

San Marcos took Ventura to the brink on Thursday but fell to the Cougars 25-16, 17-25, 25-22, 23-25, 17-15 in a Channel League match that was a must-win for the Royals.

Roger Kuntz said his teamed played one of its best matches of the season but couldn’t close it out in crunch time.

San Marcos held several leads in the fifth set, including match point.

Baker Johnson converted 13 kills in 26 attempts and BJ Elton knocked down seven kills on 20 attempts. Kyle Estabrooks did a solid job at serve-receive with 33 perfect passes with 11 digs.

The loss means the Royals would have to win out in league just to be allowed to bid for an at-large berth. San Marcos still has Buena and Santa Barbara on its schedule.