The San Marcos High girls volleyball team cleared a major hurdle in its quest for a third Channel League title in the past four years with a 25-21, 25-18, 25-17 victory over Dos Pueblos on Tuesday night at Maury Halleck Gym.
Dos Pueblos came into the match in second place, one game back of the Royals as a result of a four-set loss in the first round of league play when the two teams matched up. The Chargers needed a victory to have a realistic opportunity to become co-league champions, but fell woefully short as the continued absence of senior middle clock Ally Mintzer due to injury created a significant void in their lineup.
“I have to hand it to San Marcos, they are a versatile team with a lot of depth and volleyball knowledge,” said Dos Pueblos coach Megan O’Carroll. “We really saw that volleyball IQ be a big difference maker tonight.”
San Marcos was led by sophomore outside hitter Taylor Wilson, who finished with a match-high 10 kills. The Royals also received excellent production from Brynn Sofro and Kristine Fimlaid, who finished with eight and six kills respectively. Grace Matthews was also a stalwart defensively and finished with 15 digs.
Set one was tight throughout, but back-to-back kills by Wilson extended the San Marcos lead to 23-18. Another Wilson kill put the Royals ahead 24-20 and they clinched the set on the on a Dos Pueblos hitting error.
“A lot of what we talked about and worked on yesterday was being disciplined,” said San Marcos coach Tina Brown. “ We were like ‘No let up, be disciplined in your blocking, in your passing, in your attacking’ and even (players), who didn’t have grat games tonight they were trying to be disciplined in what they did.”
The Royals started much stronger in set two and took a 10-6 lead when Sofro and Ellie Gamberdella combined for a block. The lead ballooned to 21-12 on an ace serve by Elise Aquilon and the Chargers clinched the set on a Dos Pueblos serve error into the net.
In set three, San Marcos opened with a 12-4 run capped off by an ace serve by Jayne Wood. The Royals clinched set three and the match on a serve error by Dos Pueblos into the net.
“I think we were more just really focused on doing our job and getting that done,” Brown said. “As long as we’re focused on that I don’t think we should lose a game to anybody in this league. We should have pretty much swept the entire league.”
Dos Pueblos (19-11 overall, 6-2 Channel League) will host Lompoc on Thursday, Oct. 4 and San Marcos (18-9, 8-0) will host Santa Ynez.