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Foothill Invitational wraps year 2

Posted: August 3, 2013 8:29 p.m.
Updated: August 3, 2013 8:29 p.m.
Hart reacts after scoring a point against Crean Lutheran on Saturday at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex. Hart reacts after scoring a point against Crean Lutheran on Saturday at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex.
Hart reacts after scoring a point against Crean Lutheran on Saturday at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex.

The second annual Foothill Invitational concluded Sunday at venues around the Santa Clarita Valley, and while the teams are far from set at the varsity level, the tournament served as an opportunity for coaches to learn a little more about their prospective teams entering the fall season.

“It’s a really good time of the year in terms of West Ranch goes and the way we run things,” said West Ranch head coach Garret Maxwell. “It’s an opportunity to take a look at the personnel we have and see where their at skillwise.”

The Wildcats ended their weekend with a 2-0 loss to Notre Dame to start the day and a 2-0 victory over Foothill League rival Saugus.

The weekend was an opportunity for a few new faces to make an impression on coaches after the Wildcats graduated seven seniors off last year’s second-place finisher.

Freshman Jordan Hilst competed with the varsity team at the tournament as a middle, and could potentially play on the left or right if she makes the final roster.

“She’s a wonderful athlete, very fast, very strong ,” Maxwell said. “Ridiculously coordinated, surperb athlete.”

Sophomore Cassidy Peters, a sophomore who played on the freshman team last season, also got some playing time this weekend.

All three Foothill League teams that competed in the more competitive Invitational Bracket, Saugus, West Ranch and Hart all had an opportunity to match up over the three-day tournament.

And looking to fill a gap caused by the loss of a key group of seniors is a common theme among the three, with Hart losing six seniors and Saugus losing five.

“We were very competitive,” said Hart head coach Mary Keen. “I still mixed up the lineups and we’re still not set on a roster.”

But Maxwell warns there’s not a lot to take from the matches, with the teams still figuring out their final rosters.

“It really doens’t mean anything,” he said. “We go into practice on Monday, how can we get better? Hart’s figuring out their lineup, Saugus is figuring out their lineup. Notre Dame is still figuring out their lineup. We play Notre Dame in the preseason, it’s going to look different when we get there.”

Saugus, though, is a little bit ahead of their rivals at this point, having already played tournaments this season and using this weekend’s event to showcase its final varsity roster, according to first-year Saugus head coach Eric Luckenbach.

The Centurions will rely on a few new faces to fill some of their holes, and this offseason sophomore Jessica Jiminez has impressed Luckenbach enough to make the varsity roster at outside hitter.

“I’m optimistic about our overall competitiveness,” Luckenbach said about his take aways from the weekend. “The first day we were a little sluggish from the standpoint of I thoguht we didn’t bring everything to the table we should, but the last couple days I thought it was an improvement.”

And in the end, that’s what Luckenbach said the preseason is about, improvement.

“It’s preseason. This is something where you try to get a lot of different looks at how your team will develop and handle the different situations,” he said. “Sometimes we looked good and other time we looked like we sitll need to develope.”


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