Down three points in the second set and without their head coach, Megan O’Carroll, the Dos Pueblos High girls volleyball team would have to rely on the experiences of the regular season to help guide them to a comeback win in the frame.
The Chargers managed to do just that, scoring five unanswered to win the set and eventually sweep Arcadia in three sets at Sovine Gymnasium with scores of 27-25, 25-23, 25-10.
“Right now our coach, Megan, she’s in a really important wedding in Mexico and we just harped on what she always says. We needed more energy, more focus and every play we brought it in, calmed down a little bit, and then just played,” senior setter Mikayla Butzke said.
With the victory, Dos Pueblos (22-14) will now move on to the second round of the CIF-SS Division 3 bracket and will travel to Los Angeles to face Notre Dame Academy, who bested its opponent, Redlands East Valley, 3-1 on Thursday.
Senior middle blocker Becky McKinney led the team in kills on the night with 11 with Butzke being the main one setting her up dishing out 28 assists. Butzke also added four kills.
“Lately, Becky has been really showing up for us and since she’s showing up, I’ve decided to give her that chance,” Butzke said.
“As long as she keeps producing like she is, I’m not going to stop giving it to her.”
Six of McKinney’s 11 kills came in the first frame, and the Chargers, co-champions of the Channel League, would need each one of them in a back and forth contest.
“There were some gaps in their defense and there were seams in between their hitters and I like to take advantage of that. I wasn’t nervous coming into this match, I was just more excited to do this for my team,” McKinney said.
Overall, it was a solid offensive set for Dos Pueblos as the team managed 17 kills as well as one service ace.
They also assisted on 15 of those kills, however, the defense could not stop a very active and balanced Arcadia team.
The opening frame featured 20 lead changes as neither team got ahead by more than two points.
A trio of kills, first by Chloe Hoffman, then Portia Sherman and finally Butzke, at the beginning of the set gave Dos Pueblos a 3-1 lead, but Arcadia took advantage of three consecutive attack errors to take a 4-3 lead.
Later in the frame, tied at 18-18, McKinney tallied her fourth kill of the frame to give the Chargers the lead. She would tack on her fifth to tie the match at 20-20.
Down 22-21, Dos Pueblos took advantage of three-straight violations made by Arcadia which gave them a 24-22 lead. A service error by the Chargers followed by a kill from the Apaches’ Alicia Tsao tied the match at 24-24.
The two teams would trade points, then a kill by Sherman, who would finish the contest with an even 10, followed by a McKinney’s sixth spike that touched the floor gave the home team a 1-0 lead.
The second set saw much of the same back and forth action as the first, only this time the Chargers offense faltered a lot more. DP tallied just seven kills and three aces in the second.
Anytime the Chargers would tie the match, a pair of errors would usually put the Apaches ahead by two or three again.
Down 21-18, a kill by Natali Flint, her only one of the night, would bring the Chargers back within two and forced an Arcadia timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Apaches hit into an error but then got a kill from Tsao and senior middle blocker Monet Latunde to take a 23-20 lead. Tsao led her team in kills with seven.
From there, however, the Chargers found their energy and first got a kill from Hoffman. An ace from Flint followed another kill from Hoffman and then a net error by Arcadia gave Dos Pueblos a set point opportunity.
Finally, up 24-23, Butzke dumped the ball over the net onto an unsuspecting Apaches defense and gave her team a decisive 2-0 lead.
That energy that sparked a 5-0 run to end, and win, the second set was still ignited in the third as Dos Pueblos jumped out to a 12-1 lead and never looked back.
Sherman, who had six hitting errors on the night, committed none in the third and hit her five-set kills all during the Chargers opening 12-1 run.
Much like McKinney who had success finding the middle, so to did Sherman once she moved around a bit.
“We saw a lot of success in the middle, no matter who was swinging… and if you can get your gun and into a weak area of your opponent why wouldn’t you,” Assistant coach Ehran Hug said.
A block by Butzke at 24-10 gave the Chargers the final point they needed to secure the win.
Sherman, even when she was not her best offensively, provided a team-high 17 digs on the night as overall DP dug out 56 balls and allowed just 32 kills and once ace.
Additionally, even though Arcadia’s defense was tough, the Chargers offense put together 39 kills and three aces in the win.
“I heard we were going to struggle to get the ball to the floor and Arcadia was playing defense all over the place. I was super impressed and I’m just proud of our girls to keep firing away and they just kept going after it,” Hug said.
Dos Pueblos will continue its playoff run at 6 p.m. on Saturday.