BVB: San Marcos puts on good show, finishes 2nd at DPI

Going into Saturday?s Dos Pueblos Invitational, San Marcos wasn?t listed among the top 10 teams in the latest CIF Division 2 boys volleyball poll.

That figures to change when the new poll comes out this week.

The Royals turned in a stellar performance, knocking off Agoura, sixth-ranked and crosstown rival Dos Pueblos and a very good Harvard-Westlake team in the playoffs to reach the championship of the 38th annual tournament at UCSB?s Thunderdome.

They ran out of steam in the final and lost to Division 2 top-ranked Oak Park, 25-23, 25-17.

The loss didn?t dampen the team?s spirits. The Royals knew they played some quality volleyball.

?The Royals definitely came to win a tournament today, and I couldn?t be more proud of our guys,? said coach Roger Kuntz.

With setter Christian Widmer superbly running a fast and sophisticated offense, San Marcos played solid all day. They left everything on the court, including some blood during the match against Dos Pueblos. Libero Sean Estabrooks gashed his chin diving for a ball and had to leave the match with the score knotted at 14-14 in the third set. Joe Terre took his place and passed a perfect ball that led to the go-ahead point. Baker Johnson finished off the match with a kill.

Max Wilson of San Marcos delivers a spike during Saturday's Dos Pueblos Invitational.

Max Wilson of San Marcos delivers a spike during Saturday’s Dos Pueblos Invitational.

Kuntz said it was his first win over the Chargers since returning to coaching the boys team six years ago.

The Royals next faced Harvard Westlake. They had trouble containing the Wolverines? potent outside hitter Chase Klein and dropped the first set 25-18. They turned things around in the second set and won 25-22 with the help of Cole Wenal?s blocking in the middle and the hitting of Shane Hauschild on tandem plays.

The third set was tight, with Hauschild and Johnson matching kills with Klein. Wenal came up big again for San Marcos, blocking a ball for a 13-12 lead. On the next play, Hauschild hit a sharp cross-court spike that Harvard Westlake scrambled to keep in play. Kline got the third ball at midcourt and he made a rare error, tapping it into the net for a 14-12 San Marcos advantage.

Hauschild put the next ball away for the win, 15-12.

?Everybody stepped up and performed a role throughout the course of the day and we got a lot of guys who we?re real proud of as a result of battling real hard in games three against DP and Harvard Westlake,? Kuntz said. ?A lot of people didn?t give us a chance against Harvard Westlake and we played an outstanding match against those guys.?

In the final, a kill by Johnson gave the Royals a 22-21 lead in the first set. But Oak Park scored the next two points on a kill of an overpass by tourney MVP Woody Cook and an ace serve by Brendan Parks. Johnson sided out and the Royals defense picked up a couple of hits, but a bump return after scramble play went long, giving the set to the Eagles.

After playing back-to-back three set matches, the Royals started to lose their steam in the second set of the final, and Oak Park was picking up everything. The Eagles went on a five-point run to take command of the match at 18-10.

Kuntz said the team?s performance on the day gives it confidence going into Channel League play.

Dos Pueblos swept through pool play and reached Saturday's semifinals

Dos Pueblos swept through pool play and reached Saturday’s semifinals

?We grew so much today it?s hard to really fathom where we started the day and ended the day,? he said. ?I think this is going to bode well for us in the Channel League the next few weeks.?

Santa Barbara, ranked second behind Oak Park in the last Division 2 poll, lost to the Eagles in the quarterfinals in three sets. The third set score was 16-14.

?I think we got a little overconfident after we won that game one,? Santa Barbara coach Chad Arneson said. ?We have to learn to have that killer instinct, to put teams away when we?re up. We have to focus on what?s at hand, one ball at a time.?

Arneson said he felt good about how the team has progressed. They knocked off Capistrano Valley in the first round of the playoffs and they split with eventual semifinalist Saugus and Harvard Westlake in pool play.

Dos Pueblos went 8-0 in pool play.

The all-tournament team consisted of Hauschild and Widmer of San Marcos, Klein of Harvard Westlake, Will Stokes of Newbury Park, Max Nua of Saugus and Parks of Oak Park.