Taylor Jenisch looked at the stands of the Arroyo Grande High gym and just couldn’t believe his eyes.
“This was the largest amount of people we had in here for a volleyball game,” he said.
But the pressure didn’t bother his Arroyo Grande boys volleyball team.
The Eagles put on quite a show for the audience, beating rival San Luis Obispo in four sets (25-14, 25-13, 22-25, 25-17) Tuesday to complete an undefeated PAC 7 campaign for the school’s fifth league title and fourth in six years.
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For the second time this season, Arroyo Grande (13-1, 8-0 PAC 7) outlasted the Tigers (12-11-2, 5-3 PAC 7) in four sets.
And just like their previous meeting on April 5, the Eagles won their first two sets before San Luis Obispo managed to earn a win. But Arroyo Grande prevailed in the fourth and final game by overcoming two deficits and finishing with a 12-2 rally.
Jenisch hinted that the Eagles slipped in the third game after switching up their game plan.
“We were playing some new plays that we hadn’t tried out that much,” he said after lead-ing Arroyo Grande with 12 kills. “Coach told us to go back to the basics and play high outside sets and hard-driven hits. That was what pulled us through, not trying anything new.”
Jack Empey had 35 assists for the Eagles, and Tanner Howard and Chris Jordano combined for 24 digs. Logan Honeycutt and Cameron Arnet each finished with six kills. Andrew Midyett made three blocks.
Arroyo Grande coach Laurel Allen wanted her entire team to get into the mix, considering it was the Eagles’ regular-season finale before next week’s CIF-Southern Section playoffs.
“We wanted to show that we’re the best team in the league, and that we were the team to beat,” she said. “We don’t want excuses. We just wanted to work hard.”
The Tigers came into the match hoping to spoil Arroyo Grande’s perfect league season. They survived a back-and-forth third game after Darren Paul’s kill and Nate Sweasey’s block. That was followed by Sweasey’s set-winning ace.
Peter Lee finished with 25 digs and four aces, and Paul and Trevor McGuire recorded 14 and seven kills, respectively.
“I thought they showed great character coming back from two games down,” San Luis Obispo coach Curtis Abram said.
“It’s always tough to come back and win that third. Unfortunately, we made a lot of errors and they forced us into a lot of errors with aggressive serving and some good free-ball passing. They always play tenacious defense.”