BVB: Royals roar back, beat Dos Pueblos in five


San Marcos used a balanced attack and solid back-row defense to overcome a 33-kill performance by Eli Wopat and rally from a 2-0 deficit to beat rival Dos Pueblos in five sets in a Channel League boys volleyball match at the Thunderhut on Thursday night.

The match scores were 19-25, 21-25,25-19, 25-19, 15-10.

San Marcos' Joe Terre with the dig. (Mike Everman Photo)

San Marcos’ Joe Terre with the dig. (Mike Everman Photo)

The Royals converted a Joe Terre dig of a Wopat blast into a Dane Pederson kill to spark a late run in the third set. That play gave San Marcos a 23-19 lead. The set ended with a DP hitting error and an ace serve by Jake Pighetti.

“Joe Terre has been great for this program,” San Marcos coach Jon Newton said of the defensive specialist. “He just steps in. Occasionally he likes to freelance and do his own thing, but usually he’s right.”

San Marcos suddenly had new life. Two kills by Pederson and a putaway by Jake Castanha in the middle gave the Royals a commanding 17-9 advantage in the fourth set.

“A few digs here and there and we get a transition kill and that’s a little momentum for us, which helps,” said Newton, who won his first crosstown match.

Setter Greg Kronen got all his hitters involved. Kevin Peters led the balanced attack with 11 kills, Pederson had 10 and Castanha, Ian McLain and Pighetti collected eight apiece.

“We had heart,” said the fiery Pighetti. “The majority of what helps us play well is the amount of fun that we have and a lot of heart. Our coach tell us if we have heart, we’ll win. And it works.”

Newton is glad to have a player like Pighetti on the squad.

“He has a ton of energy, he has a lot of heart; he’s good when he’s on,” Newton said. “We have a lot of guys who are very mellow in the way they play. Jake is definitely not one of those players. He brings the energy and he definitely pumps up guys. It’s what you need to get going. I think that’s what helped us in the third, fourth and fifth games.”

Wopat carried the offensive load for Dos Pueblos. CD Sullivan added 10 kills and middle Elliot Brainerd had six.

After Wopat dominated the Royals in the first two sets, Pighetti said they adjusted their defense and started making plays.

“We learned his moves and knew where he was going,” Pighetti said. “He’s a great player; he’s unbelievable, but we figured him out and did our best to stop him.”

“They figured out some of Eli’s tendencies,” said DP coach Ehren Hug.

The Royals did a nice job in transition after Terre, libero Sean Estabrooks and Pederson picked up balls in the back row.

“San Marcos kept fighting and kept playing hard and you have to give a lot of credit to Jon and his boys,” Hug said. “They played really good back-court defense. They started keying on Eli a little bit. I can’t be mad about that. They kept rotating guys at their outside hitting spots and they found a guy (Peters) who got hot toward the end.”

Back-to-back kills by Castanha and Peters gave San Marcos a 9-6 lead in the fifth set and a four-hits call against Dos Pueblos made it 10-6. Wopat sided out but the Royals scored two points in row on a kill by Castanha and an ace by Davis Schell.  Peters made it 14-9 and Pighetti put away the final point, ripping a ball off the DP block.

“After losing to Santa Barbara, we needed this win,” Pighetti said. “We wanted this win and we took it. We played with heart and did it for Jon.”

San Marcos is 4-4 overall and 2-1 in league. Dos Pueblos falls to 3-5 and 1-2.