The battle for the Channel League girls volleyball championship reached its climax on Tuesday night at Sovine Gymnasium.
After four sets of dramatic twists and turns San Marcos High avenged its Sept. 19 loss to Dos Pueblos with a 25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19 victory that sets the stage for the two teams to potentially share the league title.
“The crosstown rivalry thing is alive and well with tonight’s game.We’ve got signs on both sides and pom poms everywhere. It’s so fun,” said San Marcos co-coach Dwayne Hauschild. “The energy in this place was crazy, especially in the first three games.”
Dos Pueblos earned a sweep over San Marcos in the first round of the league play and appeared poised to claim an outright Channel League title with another victory Tuesday, but San Marcos attacked the matched with renewed vigor and received a monster boost from junior outside hitter Taylor Wilson, who finished with a match-high 17 kills.
“Just really getting after it and being confident in our practices was very important,” Wilson said. “Also playing clean in our other Channel League matches against teams that might not have been as strong made everything come together tonight.”
A key sequence in the match came at the end of the first set. San Marcos called a timeout trailing 22-18 before staging a crucial 7-1 run to steal the set. Brynn Sofro was a key to the Royals’s surge as her set-clinching spike fell just inside the backline swinging the momentum of the match in San Marcos’ favor.
Sofro finished with 8 kills and four aces. The Royals also received solid contributions from Madison Oriskovich who pounded 14 kills and Sierra Chesluck, who riddled the Chargers all night with tough serves.
“We just didn’t execute, which was unfortunate. We struggled on the passing game. We didn’t win the serving-passing game,” said Dos Pueblos coach Megan O’Carroll. “I don’t think our defensive effort was quite as dominant as it was last time when we beat them.”
Dos Pueblos was led by Portia Sherman, who finished with 11 kills and 23 digs. Setter Mikayla Butzke added five kills, 25 assists and 10 digs.
Both teams were ranked in the most recent CIF-SS Division 3 poll with Dos Pueblos (17-10, 7-1) coming in at No. 7 and San Marcos (16-6, 7-1) ranked No. 9. If the teams finished tied for the Channel League title a coin flip will decide who gets the No. 1 seed out of the league going into the playoffs.
San Marcos and Dos Pueblos have only dropped one set to the other Channel League teams combined this season.