The top of the Channel League standings gained clarity as the San Marcos High girls’ volleyball team notched a 25-20, 25-23, 25-16 sweep of rival Dos Pueblos on Thursday night at the Thunderhut.
Dos Pueblos, San Marcos, and Santa Barbara all came into the night with one loss in Channel League play and the Royals’ victory keeps them on pace with the Dons, who swept Rio Mesa on Thursday to improve to 6-1.
“We’ve played a lot of matches. We were up in San Luis Obispo last weekend, which was very competitive and it gave us an opportunity just to see some different lineups,” said San Marcos coach Tina Brown. “We reminded the kids that we are a team of 14. Six people are on the court. If you’re on the court, honor that, feel grateful for that, and get your job done.”
Outside hitter Elena Thomas led the way for San Marcos with a match-high 16 kills. Brown credited defensive specialists Mia Miller and Katie Kracke for steadying the Royals’ passing and setting the stage for a fluid performance offensively.
Sophomore setter Josie Gamberdella did a nice job spreading the ball around for San Marcos. She finished with 35 assists, seven digs, and a match-high four aces.
“My mentality is to go aggressive. I don’t really care if I hit it out,” said Gamberdella of her serving strategy. “I just know that I’m going at it every single time.”
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After a back-and-forth first set, San Marcos took control late with a 4-0 run and took a 1-0 set lead, 25-20 when Dos Pueblos hit outside the pole.
Set two was the tightest of the match as a solo block by Gamberdella put San Marcos ahead 23-22. San Marcos middle blocker Eloise McGibben followed that up with an ace serve to give the Royals set point at 24-22.
Chloe Hoffman kept the Chargers in it with a kill, cutting the deficit to 24-23, but Thomas closed out the set for San Marcos 25-23 with a powerful spike.
“Elena is my go-to,” Gamberdella said. “Every time I give her the ball, I trust that she can put it away.”
San Marcos cruised in set three and clinched the match when Riley Green hit just inside the back line.
Hoffman finished with 10 kills, five digs, and three blocks for Dos Pueblos. Makeila Cervantes chipped in eight kills.
“We definitely rely heavily on Chloe [Hoffman], and she puts up big numbers, in the twenties for us, even, but we’re really trying to be more diverse,” said Dos Pueblos coach Megan O’Carroll. “That’s a big load to ask one player to carry and expect her to score that many points every single match.”