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DP volleyball falls to Santa Barbara in four

By Kristen Gowdy

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Mansai Conner and Kevin Pappas go up for a block against a Santa Barbara player (Kristen Gowdy/photo)

Kristen Gowdy | Sports Editor | April 10, 2012

Despite a team-high 15 kills from senior Gabe Burdick, the Dos Pueblos boys volleyball team could not come back after a big win in the first set, and fell to rival Santa Barbara in four games, 25-21, 20-25, 23-25 and 26-24.

For Chargers head coach Chris Hughes, the game was about gaining experience for his younger players and working to fit everyone into their roles.

“I have three sophomores on the team,” said Hughes after the match. “They learned tonight what a typical varsity match against Santa Barbara is like. Real energy, with lots of swings back and forth with the score and with the game.”

Keaton Arutian sets the ball to a teammate (Kristen Gowdy/photo)

Though Dos Pueblos was the less experienced team, they did not play like it in the first set. The Chargers came out strong, jumping out to a quick 10-4 lead that could be attributed to their high energy level. Thanks to Jackson Wopat’s consistent blocking and hitting, as well as Keaton Arutian’s even setting distribution, Dos Pueblos was able to maintain that lead and let the momentum carry them through the rest of the set.

“We were sloppy in that first set,” said Dons head coach Chad Arneson. “Credit to Dos Pueblos though, they played really well in the entire match.”

Arneson also complimented the Dos Pueblos senior Arutian for his tough serves down the stretch.

“He really brought them back into the sets.”

And in the final three sets, the Chargers needed everything they had to come from behind. In all three games, the Dons quickly took the lead and never looked back. That is, until Arutian’s serves and Burdick’s continuous offensive pressure made them.

Santa Barbara led by as many as eight points in the second set, but the Chargers battled back, bringing it to within three before they eventually dropped the set.

However, for Hughes, the set was not only defined by the comeback, but also the many errors that Dos Pueblos made. The Chargers committed several service errors, as well as two rotation violations along with several other penalties, which hurt the team when the game got close.

“You can’t do that against Santa Barbara. That’s gravy for them. You have to make them earn every point,” said Hughes.

Dos Pueblos once again staged a comeback in the third set, but the Dons stifled it again with consistent hitting and smothering defense.

“That’s a typical Santa Barbara team,” continued Hughes. “For us to win, we have to put the ball down. It’s hard against a team like the Dons. They’re disciplined and very good on defense.”

The fourth and final set, however, was what defined the night for the Chargers. Amidst an electric crowd, Dos Pueblos fought its way back from an early six point deficit to finally take the lead at 24-22 thanks to a kill from Burdick. But their attempted comeback once again was spoiled by a Santa Barbara team who did not want a fifth game. Santa Barbara senior Sam Cohen put away the game for the Dons with a block that ended the match 26-24 in the Dons favor.

Though Hughes was disappointed at the loss, he was heartened by the final set, which showed him that his team could compete with arguably the best team in Channel League.

“We can compete. We’re there. That last set just shows it,” said Hughes. “They made a couple good plays at the end, but we were there.”

Gabe Burdick led the Chargers with his fifteen kills. He was followed by Mansai Conner, who had eight kills, and Keaton Arutian, who had seven. Burdick recorded four blocks while Conner added three.

With the loss, Dos Pueblos falls to 2-1 in league and 7-10 overall. The Dons, meanwhile, remain undefeated in league with a 3-0 record.

The Chargers next travel to Buena, where they face the Bulldogs on Thursday.


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DP volleyball falls to Santa Barbara in four