BVB: San Marcos’ firepower too much for Santa Barbara

Shane Hauschild of San Marcos hits between Santa Barbara blockers Will Pulice (17) and Jonah Iwanaga. Hauschild had a match-high 18 kills.

Shane Hauschild of San Marcos hits between Santa Barbara blockers Will Pulice (17) and Jonah Iwanaga. Hauschild had a match-high 18 kills.

Crosstown boys volleyball matches are usually knock-down, drag-out affairs.

Thursday’s Santa Barbara-San Marcos Channel League battle was not.

The CIF Division 2 top-ranked Royals dominated play and romped to a 25-20, 25-12, 25-15 sweep of the Dons before a big crowd at the Thunderhut.

And they did it in a business-like fashion.

“I thought our guys played with a lot of class, and we were really machine-like tonight,” San Marcos coach Roger Kuntz said. “We were in system most of the night. I was really pleased at what I saw out there.”

Kuntz said the victory was the 299th in his volleyball coaching career at San Marcos.

Thursday’s win started with  passing. The Royals (18-1, 3-1) were pinpoint most of the night, making it easy for standout senior setter Christian Widmer to go wherever he wanted.

Of course, with a potent hitter like 6-7 senior Shane Hauschild on the outside, it was a no-brainer where Widmer was sending most of his sets. Hauschild led the attack with 18 kills.

But San Marcos has plenty more firepower at the net, and Widmer utilized it — he finished with 39 assists. Baker Johnson put down 13 kills from the outside and Cole Wenal had a pair of impressive kills in the middle.

“We’re getting a lot of pop not just from our pins, which everybody knows is coming, but we got it out of the middle and the backside too,” Kuntz said. “And Christian Widmer is just an elite setter. You can tell when we go into any gym, he really knows how to run a show. He has a real fast motor.”

Shane Hauschild blocks a Santa Barbara attack.

Shane Hauschild blocks a Santa Barbara attack.

Wenal was a beast blocking the ball, finishing with five stuffs. Nick Rockwell added three blocks.

“I was really impressed with the way we played tonight,” Kuntz said. “We played great against Ventura on Tuesday and we got better tonight. We didn’t pull our foot off the gas pedal I don’t think one time tonight. It was pretty evident with what happened out there.”

Santa Barbara made a game of it in the first set. The Dons stepped up on defense and dug several hard hits, and senior outside hitters Tristan Fauntleroy and Jasper Rhodes buried some balls.

Fauntleroy led the Dons with 10 kills.

The Royals, however, kept the pressure on with Hauschild and Johnson continually finding the court. Johnson ripped a spike for the final point of the set.

“We had some moments in that first game, but just moments,” Santa Barbara coach Chad Arneson said. “If we could maintain some kind of consistency that would be good.”

Santa Barbara couldn’t get anything going in the second game and fell behind early. One of the highlights of the game was a one-handed set by Widmer that Wenal blasted to the floor. San Marcos finished the game with an 8-0 run .

The Dons were even at 5-5 in the third set before San Marcos went on a 7-2 run and never looked back.

Santa Barbara fell to 6-7 overall and 1-2 in league.

“We can’t get too down on ourselves,” Arneson said. “There’s still a lot of season left. We got to learn how to play with some swagger out there. We need someone to step it up.”

Arneson has coached the Dons to nine straight league titles.

“What comes around goes around,” he said. “We’ve been on top and now they’re on top. Right now, they’re the standard: No. 1 in Division 2. They’ve earned it. They got a good team, a good group of seniors, and they play well together. You got to give them a lot of credit.

“I got to give Roger a lot of credit,” he added. “He’s got a good team. They’re confident right now and they’re playing loose. I thought they’d be nervous a little bit. They’re mature out there.”

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