Buchanan captures TOC title; Royals claim 4th

Buchanan and La Costa Canyon met in the championship match of the 2014 Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions.

Buchanan and La Costa Canyon met in the championship match of the 2014 Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions.


Buchanan and La Costa Canyon successfully navigated the field at the Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions on Friday and Saturday for a chance to play for the championship. After a five-set battle, Buchanan was the last-team standing following a 30-28, 22-25, 25-20, 17-25, 15-6 decision.

Patrick Gasman was named the tournament’s MVP while helping Buchanan improve to 17-3 on the season.


San Marcos’ fourth-place result was the best showing for local teams. Channel League rivals Santa Barbara High and Dos Pueblos ended up playing for the consolation championship, which the Dons won 25-18, 21-25, 25-20, 25-13.

The Royals, the No. 1 team in the Southern Section’s Division 2 and seeking their third tournament championship of the season, were stopped in the semifinals by La Costa Canyon.

“I thought they were one of the elite teams in the tournament,” said San Marcos head coach Roger Kuntz of La Costa Canyon. “They played a match where they didn’t make any mistakes and we’re used to being on that end of things.”

San Marcos junior Greg Kronen led the Royals' offense in their final match of the TOC.

San Marcos junior Greg Kronen led the Royals’ offense in their final match of the TOC.

The Royals entered the tournament with just one loss on the season and had won their previous two tournaments. La Costa swept San Marcos 25-21, 25-21, 25-22.

“We don’t like to lose and I think we took that loss this morning pretty hard. We expected to win to tell you the truth.”

Kuntz then decided to play his reserves in the 3rd-place match against Campolindo. With the entire starting six on the bench for the whole match, Jake Pighetti, Connor Everman, libero Joe Terre, Ben Hauschild, setter Greg Kronen, middle Ian McClain, and middle Diego Almanza saw most of the playing time.

“Greg Kronen did an excellent job at setter. He’s clearly our heir apparent next year at the setting position,” Kuntz said. “He makes great decisions and is a good blocker for his size.”

Not only did Kuntz want to give his backups some quality playing time, but the Royals were also thinking about Tuesday’s league match against Santa Barbara. With the Channel League title on the line, Kuntz didn’t want to take any chances with injuries.

Santa Barbara rested Tristan Fauntleroy in its final match against DP. Dons head coach Chad Arneson, in his 10th year running the TOC, was pleased with the contributions from setter Cord Periera and the energy from Jasper Rhodes. The Dons went 3-1 in the tournament, losing their opener to La Costa Canyon before defeating Royal, Newport Harbor and Dos Pueblos.

While head coach Ehren Hug raved about the play from Kurtis Randmaa and Niko Plesons against the Dons, the Chargers were not at the top of their game.

“We came out to compete but our passing didn’t allow us to run our offense the way we wanted,” Hug said.

The Chargers beat West Ranch 25-19, 17-25, 25-15, 27-25 earlier on Saturday to make the consolation final.