Dos Pueblos celebrates its five-set victory over rival San Marcos. | Credit: Victor Bryant

The energy in Sovine Gymnasium was palpable and translated into an inspired effort by the Dos Pueblos High girls’ volleyball team.

The Chargers scratched, clawed, and outlasted rival San Marcos to claim a five-set thriller, 18-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-14, 15-11 on Thursday night in the Channel League opener for both teams.

“We’ve had the same two goals every single time we walk into the gym. We’re going to over-communicate, and we’re always going to give our best effort,” said Dos Pueblos coach Megan O’Carroll. “They came in super-focused and ready to take care of business.”

At the heart of Dos Pueblos’ signature victory was setter Halle Rillie, who not only orchestrated the Chargers’ attack, but put on a clinic with timely dumps that consistently found the floor. She finished second on the team with 12 kills, which is an impressive feat for a setter.

“I just really wanted to insert myself into the offense and make them block me so that I can get one up on my middle or even get one up on the outside,” Rillie said. “The more I dump, the more they jump on me, and they get tired too.”

San Marcos never figured out how to stop Rillie as she closed out the fifth and final set with a dump over the net before being mobbed by her teammates and the Dos Pueblos student section.

The match appeared to be slipping away from Dos Pueblos early as San Marcos cruised in set one capped off by a spike from middle blocker Samantha Fallan that clinched the opening stanza 25-18. 

However, Dos Pueblos responded in a back and forth second set. After a kill by San Marcos outside hitter Elena Thomas evened the score at 15-15, the Chargers ripped off a 10-5 run and evened the match at one set apiece on a spike by Grace Posey that split the San Marcos block.

San Marcos regained control down the stretch of set three behind the smooth serving of Charlotte Hastings. She delivered back-to-back aces that put the Royals ahead 24-22. Kaylin Cooney followed with a kill that put San Marcos ahead two sets to one. 

“I think that was the biggest difference maker: [Dos Pueblos] had really positive energy. They came out with a grind and a fight and positivity,” said San Marcos coach Dwayne Hauschild. “We had that at points, but we were definitely streakier.”

The Chargers dominated set four, closing on an 8-1 run capped off by a kill from Jayden Jones, who finished with 13 kills. Jones is undersized for her outside hitter position, but makes up for it with power and athleticism. 

Dos Pueblos also received a huge match from Addison Low, who finished with a match-high 15 kills. Rillie and Low have an excellent rapport that the Chargers can lean on when things get tough.

“I think just because we’ve had so much practice time together, we are just so synced up we are like the same person,” Low said. “She always knows when I’m going to be up, and I always can trust that she is going to get it to me.”

Dos Pueblos took control midway through set five as an ace by Annelle Priebe-Garcia gave the Chargers an 8-5 lead. A kill by Jones increased the Dos Pueblos lead to 14-8, and after three straight San Marcos points, Rillie fittingly ended the match with a dump over the net. 

San Marcos (3-4 overall, 0-1 Channel League) will travel to Santa Barbara on Thursday while, Dos Pueblos (3-2, 1-0) will travel to Ventura. 


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