BVB: Holmes is spectacular in DP playoff sweep

Nate Holmes was a volleyball player on fire Tuesday night in Dos Pueblos’ CIF first-round match against Righetti.

The senior put on a dazzling display of his all-around skills to lead the Chargers to a 25-19, 25-17, 25-22 sweep over a scrappy Warriors team at Sovine Gym. Holmes had team highs of 12 kills and 24 digs and even handed out a few assists.

“The whole team was on fire. I really can’t take all the credit” said Holmes. “Mark (Raphael) was setting really well, Niko (Plesons) was digging well; we had a lot of players come off the bench and play really well. It was really exciting to see.”

Holmes hit smartly all night. He scored on off-speed shots into deep corners, turned balls off blockers and crushed spikes to the floor.

He also made plays on defense.

He was spectacular during a long rally in the third set. With DP leading 18-15, Holmes made three diving digs and set two balls for outside hitter Matt Sessler. Sessler put the second ball away to score one of the most exciting points of the night.

“It’s really nice when a team can come together like that and make those scramble plays,” Holmes said. “A lot of times that will make the difference down the road — who’s going to outhustle the other team.”

DP coach Ehren Hug, who won in his CIF playoff debut as a coach, said Holmes is a player who is “pretty complete as far as the come. He really leads the floor out there, not just with his volleyball but with his voice. We got a lot out of him tonight.”

Raphael had a solid game setting and playing at the net. He got some blocks and put away a few balls.

“He’s underestimated by a lot of attackers,” said Hug of Raphael’s blocking ability. “He’s our little Energizer Bunny. When we can get a few blocks from him, it pumps the whole team up and we have a good time.,

After a two-week layoff since the end of the regular season, DP was a little ragged at the start of the match. But its game started to come together toward the end of the first set and then took off in the second.

“We’ve been working really hard in practice the last week, just waiting to start CIF. It’s really exciting to get out there,” said Holmes.

Hug said the match was DP’s first at home since Senior Night on April 10. “We were anxious to play in front of our crowd and just see everybody. We haven’t tasted our home court in over a month.”

The DP fans were treated to some good play by the Chargers in the second set.

A Holmes kill started a 5-0 run in the second set. A stuff block by Shulman and a kill by Elliott Brainerd made it 18-9. Holmes buried a ball for a 24-17 lead and Shulman recorded another solo blocks in the middle for the winning point.

Righetti kept fighting in the third set behind a scrappy defense and the hititng of Matt LaFlin (6 kills). The Warriors trailed 16-15 before DP went on a three-point run.

Another Holmes kill made it 24-14, but Righetti made the Chargers earn the final point. It came on middle kill by Shulman, who was second on the team in kills with seven. Sessler added five and Randmaa four. Niko Plesons had 18 digs and served four aces.

The Chargers will play either Lakewood or Torrance in Thursday’s second round.