BVB: DP falls in four at Mira Costa

Dos Pueblos rebounded from a first-set loss against powerful Mira Costa, but the Chargers struggled playing in system most of night and ultimately fell in four sets in Manhattan Beach on Tuesday night in a CIF Division 1 boys volleyball first-rouud playoff match.

The scores were 25-15, 23-25, 25-17, 25-18.

“Our passing was shaky tonight,” DP coach Ehren Hug said. “We saw a lot of jump serves coming our way and we struggled to put the ball on target so our setter Mark Raphael could run our offense. The effort from my boys was solid, but it was just not our night against a more consistent Mustangs squad.”

Mira Costa used its middle attack to score a lot of its points. DP, however, did a better job containing the middle as the match wore on.

“I’m happy with how well our block adjusted as the night went on because their middles were giving us problems. In sets 3 and 4, middles CD Sullivan, Adam Shields, and Ethan Brier started to figure them out,” said Hug.

The Chargers were led by junior opposite Eli Wopat with 9 kills and 2 blocks.

“Eli’s junior year was one of growth and improvement as he was the focal point of our offense. He will return hungry next season in his final season as a Charger,” said Hug.

Junior outside hitters Elliott Brainerd and Jack Burns added 8 and 7 kills apiece, while Sullivan had 6 kills on 10 attempts and two blocks in the middle.

“We just couldn’t get him the ball enough tonight. When the passing is hit or miss and your setter has to chase it down, a great middle blocker can get taken out of the mix,” said Hug.

The coach also praised defensive specialists Trey Klopstein and freshman Parker Crossland for their scrappy play.

“These two kept us in a lot of long rallies and did the grunt work that often goes unnoticed,” he said.

In his final match as a Charger, senior setter and captain Mark Raphael dished out 33 assists.

“Mark has always played hard and adapted to his situation with ease and confidence,” Hug said. “The passing left his options limited at times, but he has become such a smart setter over his four years at DP and a leader on and off the court, and it was apparent tonight. Mark will join the ranks as one of the best setters to play for this school and it was an honor to coach him.”