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Foothill volleyball: Saugus seals the deal

Cents defeat Grizzlies and claim Foothill title outright; are one win away from perfect league

Posted: October 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Members of the Saugus girls volleyball team held up one finger signifying first place in the Foothill League.

The team posed for a photo holding a plaque afterward.

Outside of that, there was little to indicate that Saugus had just locked up sole possession of its first league championship since 2001.

Yet with a quick 3-0 win over Golden Valley on Thursday at Golden Valley High School, that’s exactly what the Centurions did, ending Valencia’s run of nine straight Foothill crowns.

The game scores were 25-12, 25-10 and 25-15.

“Maybe it just hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Saugus senior Naomi Winkler. “It probably won’t sink in until that (2011 championship banner) goes up on the wall.”

For the past nine years, Valencia has stood in the way of the Centurions (26-2, 9-0) and their quest for a title.

On Thursday, the Grizzlies (2-12, 1-8) were all that stood in the way, and they were clearly overmatched against a taller, more experienced Saugus team.

Now, Saugus heads to Redondo Union High School for the prestigious the Redondo Union Power Classic tournament this weekend.

A week later, playoffs begin.

“In the middle of November, I’ll be able to enjoy this and I will enjoy it very much,” said Saugus head coach Zach Ambrose of winning the title.

Golden Valley fell victim to the same combination of Centurion outside hitters that every other Foothill team has.

Though the Grizzlies did their best to fend off the attack, Saugus was happy to keep swinging and keep the pressure on.

The scoring was evenly spread between Saugus’ usual hitters Jaclyn Clark and Sarah Blomgren, who had 12 kills apiece, and Hannah Nua, who had 11.

Between the three of them, Golden Valley’s blockers couldn’t keep up.

“I’ve been confident about (our outside hitters) the whole year,” Ambrose said. “Running the middle right now is a bonus for us.”

Setter Ashley Guthrie finished with 33 assists.

Serving was also a factor against the Grizzlies, who struggled with consistency in the passing game.

The Centurions committed just three service errors and tallied six aces as a team.

“We did the best that we could knowing what we were up against,” said Golden Valley head coach Jeff Cody.

Katie Nicholson and Ashley Lorton were co-leaders for the Grizzlies with five kills each.

Golden Valley’s best opportunity came in the third game when it led 5-3 early and kept the score close until Saugus rallied for eight straight points to pull away with a 20-9 lead.

From there, an outright Foothill title was a foregone conclusion.

“I know a lot of us have waited three years for this,” Winkler said. “We’ve worked so hard for the past three years.”


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