GOLETA, Calif. - The sequel was much better than the original but the result was the same: San Marcos fell in the semifinals for the second straight year to Esperanza.
UCLA-bound Jake Arnitz had 38 kills to lead the Aztecs in a five-set thriller that featured some electrifying plays on both sides.
San Marcos, which was swept last year by the Aztecs in the semifinals, was confident heading into tonight's match. The top-seeded Royals in the CIF Division 2, won the first set 25-21 but Arnitz then dominated the next two sets as the Aztecs won 25-22 and 25-16.
But San Marcos regrouped and behind Baker Johnson, Shane Hauschild and Christian Widmer, the Royals won the fourth set 25-22 setting the stage for the fifth and deciding set.
For most of the fifth set, it was a showdown between Arnitz and Hauschild and both superstars delivered big points. The UCSB-bound Hauschild tied the score at 11 with a kill down the line. But that was the final point of the season for San Marcos as the Aztecs reeled off the next four points to take it 15-11.
San Marcos ends a great season at 28-4 and it also marks the end of an outstanding coaching career for Roger Kuntz who is retiring after winning more than 300 games.