BVB: Royals claim Dos Pueblos Invitational championship

San Marcos celebrates after winning the final point of Saturday's championship match against Laguna Beach.

San Marcos celebrates after winning the final point of Saturday’s championship match against Laguna Beach.


San Marcos was the last-team standing again on Saturday as the top-ranked Royals won their second-straight tournament by claiming the Dos Pueblos Invitational championship over Laguna Beach in UCSB’s Thunderdome.

The Royals topped the Breakers 25-21, 25-20 to win their second straight tournament title a week after winning the Redondo Tournament. San Marcos improves to 16-0.

“We’ve been getting better every day right now,” said Royals head coach Roger Kuntz. “It’s kind of cliche but I think that fortunately coming off that Redondo Tournament we saw a lot of great teams there so we are accustomed now to the pace.”

Christian Widmer was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, while Baker Johnson and Shane Hauschild were named to the all-tournament team.

“It’s really awesome. It’s just a total team effort,” Widmer said. “I mean, I couldn’t be happier with our performance today and I’m just really excited to see where things take us in the future.”

San Marcos, the No. 1 team in Division 2, defeated Notre Dame and Saugus in the winner’s bracket before facing Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach took an early lead in the first set but San Marcos put together a run and grabbed a 13-10 lead of its own on a Hauschild block. The Breakers didn’t get closer than 18-20 at the end of the first set.

The two teams basically exchanged points for most of the second set until Laguna Beach took a 19-18 lead. From there, San Marcos captured seven of the last eight points to secure the tournament title.  The Royals made the big plays when it counted, including an incredible dig by Sean Estabrooks on Noah Blanton on the second-to-last point of the match.

The Breakers, ranked No. 5 in Division 2, beat South Pasadena 25-19, 27-25 in the quarterfinals and Eagle Rock in the semifinals 25-17, 25-17.

“It would have been nice to win the tournament, and I don’t think the guys didn’t played hard,” said Laguna Beach head coach Darren Utterback. “It’s early in the year, and as much as you want to win the tournament and win every match, they’re all learning experiences.”

San Marcos vs. Laguna Beach volleyball

San Marcos’ Shane Hauschild hits past the block by Laguna Beach’s Noah Blanton, left, and Jack Burgi.

Utterback was impressed by San Marcos’ attack led by Widmer, Shane Hauschild and Baker Johnson.

“I think it was two really good teams playing each other and we came out on the bottom,” Utterback said.

Laguna Beach’s Jack Wyett and JP Wollam were named to the all-tournament team.

“Clearly one of the better teams we’ve played, but I think on our side of the net we’re doing a pretty good job right now,” Kuntz said.

Having an experienced, athletic setter like Widmer is key to San Marcos success.

“Without Christian, we don’t go,” Kuntz said. “The other coaches that I know that really get the game of volleyball understand that that is a high-motor setter right there. Nobody goes from point A to point B as fast as he does.”

Tournament host Dos Pueblos, fresh off a huge Channel League victory over Santa Barbara on Thursday, advanced out of group play but fell to Palisades Charter just before the quarterfinals.

“We’re not upset. We’re not making any excuses,” said Dos Pueblos head coach Ehren Hug. “Pali was a great team and we gave them our best.”

The Chargers beat Lancaster, San Luis Obispo and Harvard-Westlake in group play. They also split sets with Eagle Rock, who advanced all the way to the semifinals.

Dos Pueblos and San Marcos meet in a Channel League match on Thursday.

Other all-tournament selections include Eagle Rock’s Stewart Ramirez, Capo Valley’s Grant Friedman and Saugus’ Max Nua.

San Marcos' setter Christian Widmer was named the tournament's MVP.

San Marcos’ setter Christian Widmer was named the tournament’s MVP.