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The breaks go to Saugus

Centurions volleyball team seizes second place in Foothill League

Posted: April 16, 2009 10:43 p.m.
Updated: April 17, 2009 4:56 a.m.

The Saugus High boys volleyball team celebrates its victory Thursday at Saugus High.

 
Even before Saugus’ and West Ranch’s volleyball match began, a referee commented that it felt like there was a full moon out, and he thought it was going to be a strange evening at Saugus High with second place in the Foothill League on the line.

Two hours later, his premonition was proved to be true as Saugus boys volleyball earned a 16-25, 25-15 15-25, 25-19, 18-16 win over West Ranch after a pair of controversial decisions went the Centurions’ (9-5, 3-1) way.

The first questionable call came in the third game when West Ranch head coach Nate Sparks argued a call from his seat, pointing out that even Saugus head coach Jared Ambrose had thought a Saugus shot called in was out. Sparks’ comments earned him a yellow card, which meant he couldn’t leave the bench for the rest of the game.

“Getting a card definitely changed how I coached,” Sparks said. “Not being able to get up and talk to the guys except for during time outs meant I was not able to let them know where to be and what to do as easily. I don’t know if it was really a factor, but I know if I had left my seat then I would have gotten a red card and cost our team a point so I wasn’t going to let that happen.”

There was also a discrepancy in the score during the decisive frame due to the fact the teams’ official scorers had different tallies midway through the fifth set, and the referees ruled to take away a point from the Wildcats (6-6, 2-2).

“There’s nothing we can do about how the game is scored,” Sparks said. “I’m not quite sure how we could have two different scores, but they went out and won the game, and we did not finish.”

For both teams, playing a fifth set was nothing new. The match was the third time in four league games that it happened for West Ranch and Saugus.

“We are getting more and more comfortable in close games,” said senior Kyle Eaton, who had 17 kills and five blocks. “Still, we knew that there was pressure on us to win because this was for second place.”

The teams battled to a 14-all tie in the fifth before a Frankie Madero spike gave West Ranch a chance to win the match, but Saugus answered to push the game into sudden death.

“This is a group of guys who never quit, no matter what situation they are in,” Ambrose said. “I would like to think that it comes from how we practice. I’m always going 100 miles per hour, and I think that shows in how we play.”

Saugus eventually took a 17-16 lead and capitalized on the third match point of the game when a Jeff Zepp shot sailed long.

Zepp still led West Ranch with 13 kills and tallied 13 assists, while Madero chipped in with 25 assists.

Ryan Mason came up with 39 assists to pace Saugus, and Colby Wilson chipped in seven kills for the Cents.

“As a freshman, Wilson has been awesome,” Ambrose said. “He’s been a big part of this team coming together, and we think we have a real shot at the two spot thanks to players like him stepping up.”

For West Ranch, Sparks hopes the game will serve as a wake up call.

“We need to understand that we have to play the whole game,” Sparks said. “We won two sets easily, and we still lost. It’s a frustrating way to lose.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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