BVB: Dons taken to the limit by Dos Pueblos

Santa Barbara High's Jasper Rhodes hits at Dos Pueblos on Tuesday. (Presidio Sports Photos)

Santa Barbara High’s Jasper Rhodes hits at Dos Pueblos on Tuesday. (Presidio Sports Photos)


Dos Pueblos gave Santa Barbara plenty to think about on Tuesday, challenging the first-place Dons in a 25-18, 25-17, 24-26, 23-25, 15-13 decision in Sovine Gym.

The Chargers had a good showing after being swept by the Dons in the first meeting between the two teams.

“You have to give them a lot of credit. DP fought hard,” said Dons head coach Chad Arneson. “They did not want to lose in this gym in three straight and we got a little complacent and made some uncharacteristic errors.”

Santa Barbara had two match points in the third set but the Chargers fought those off and captured the set on two consecutive hitting errors from the Dons.

“We want that fight from point 1 in the first set. We don’t want to wait till game 3 to turn it on,” said Dos Pueblos head coach Ehren Hug.

Nonetheless, the Chargers roared back to take games 3 and 4. In the fifth set, Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara were tied at 12-12 and 13-13. On that critical point Dons setter Cord Pereira almost tripped on a teammate while making a perfect backwards set to Cooper Johnson for a kill that gave the Dons the lead.

“That was a clutch set by Cord,” Arneson said. “Cord’s been dishing the butter sets this year.”

On match point, Hayden Millington served and after two digs by Santa Barbara, Kyle Skinner’s kill clinched the match.

“We just kind of kept our attitude up. It’s pretty much all about that,” Pereira said. “I kept on feeding my big hitters: Kyle, Jasper, Hayden, and then when we had a small block up front I kept on feeding the outside.”

Games 3 and 4 were tight. There were 10 ties in game 3 and nine in game 4.

Eli Wopat’s 25 kills was a game-high. The left-hander was especially on fire late in the fourth set, racking four kills in DP last seven points.

“They kept on feeding Eli. He’s their big hitter. He really stepped up in the late games and he just contributed pretty much everything,” Pereira said.

Hug said he believed his team could win the match but were beat in key areas.

“Our passing was mediocre, their ball control was much better, and we gave them too many easy opportunities and we couldn’t shut down Hayden (Millington),” Hug said.

Dos Pueblos received key performances from Adam Shields and bench player Trey Klopstein. Shields, a San Marcos transfer that has played in less than 10 matches for the Chargers, had eight kills on 17 attempts with no errors. He dropped two clutch kills in the final set for DP’s 12th and 13th points.

“He was just gangbusters in game five,” Hug said. “He’s super athletic, super dynamic and he’s a great kid who’s just been waiting for those days and I thought he had a great coming-out match tonight.”

Santa Barbara’s Jasper Rhodes, Skinner and Millington all had 14 kills to lead the Dons’ attack. Periera dished out 52 assists.

Santa Barbara improved to 6-0 in the Channel League standings while Dos Pueblos falls to 2-3.