A first set meltdown doomed the Dos Pueblos High girls volleyball team in a 27-25, 25-18, 25-23 non-league loss to visiting Westlake on Tuesday night at Sovine Gym.
The Chargers jumped out to a 14-4 lead in set one, but couldn’t close out a veteran Westlake team, which played flawlessly down the stretch to pull out the set and swing the momentum of the match.
“It was hard for us to drop (the first set). We took a pretty big emotional hit after that, which carried over into the second set,” said Dos Pueblos coach Megan O’Carroll. “It took us a little while to recover. But we did. I just think it was a little bit too late.”
The Chargers dropped to 1-2 on the season with the loss as they navigate a challenging early season schedule. Westlake is the defending champion of the Marmonte League and finished with a 24-4 overall record last season.
In addition, Dos Pueblos split its matches against traditional powers Oaks Christian and Arroyo Grande last week.
“When I made a schedule for this year I had a lot of optimism for this team. I think we’re really strong in a lot of areas,” O’Carroll said. “We’ve got three seniors in our starting lineup so they bring a lot of experience.”
Dos Pueblos was leading set one 23-16 when a Westlake timeout sparked the improbable comeback. Back-to-back kills by Jen Trephan, the reigning Marmonte League MVP, cut the Dos Pueblos lead to 23-18.
The Warriors continued their onslaught as an ace serve by Trephan followed by a block by Ashley Webb brought Westlake within 23-22 and forced a Dos Pueblos timeout.
A block by Mikayla Butzke brought Dos Pueblos to the brink of claiming set one, but Butzke’s ensuing serve went wide and Westlake’s Elizabeth Crisp followed with a kill to even the set at 24-24.
Olivia Andrews delivered a cross-court spike to give Dos Pueblos a 25-24 lead, but a serving error by Portia Sherman evened the set at 25-25. Westlake finally clinched the first set after an ace serve by Lorelei Lemon followed by a Dos Pueblos hitting error.
“We have a good core of seniors this year. They’re not easily rattled so when they get into tight situations they don’t panic. They just keep playing and find it one point at a time,” said Westlake coach Ernest Rittenhouse. “That was significant because Dos Pueblos played really well. They were getting a lot of balls up that would fall on most teams.”
Westlake carried the momentum from its set one comeback and took an 11-4 lead in set two after a spike down the line by Crisp. The Warriors went on to clinch the second set, 25-18, on a Dos Pueblos serving error.
Dos Pueblos fell behind 15-7 in set three, but stormed back and evened the set at 20-20 behind strong play by senior middle blocker Ally Mintzer, who recorded a string of kills during the comeback. However, Westlake regained control and clinched set three and the match, 25-23, on a Dos Pueblos lifting violation.
Mintzer finished with 14 kills to lead the Chargers. Trephan paced Westlake with 13 kills. Andrews also recorded seven kills for Dos Pueblos and freshman outside hitter Sherman chipped in six kills.
Dos Pueblos will travel to Newbury Park for another non-league match Thursday before taking on Presentation High School of San Jose at the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions on Friday.