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Saugus V-ball squeezes out ’Cats

n The Centurions sweep West Ranch; set up a big matchup with Hart

Posted: May 5, 2009 9:27 p.m.
Updated: May 6, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Saugus boys volleyball set itself up for a potential playoff birth with a dominant win at West Ranch Tuesday.

The Centurions’ 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-20) victory gives Saugus (19-9, 5-4) a chance to lock up a postseason invitation with a win against Hart on Thursday.

“When we came into this season, one of our goals was to beat West Ranch because we have a lot of respect for their team, and we thought that they could be one of the teams to beat in this league,” said Saugus head coach Jared Ambrose. “That we managed to beat them twice is something for this team to be proud of.”

Saugus’ first win over West Ranch this season was a five set epic, but Tuesday’s game was all Cents.

With the chance to set up the showdown against Hart, Saugus came out on point, opening an 8-1 lead in the first game.

“They had more on the line than us tonight,” said West Ranch head coach Nate Sparks. “This sets them up to get in the playoffs so we knew they would be focused today, and they turned in the type of consistent effort that we have been looking for this year.”

The Wildcats (6-13, 3-6) battled back in the first game, thanks in a large part to the serving of senior Jeff Zepp. But the Centurions controlled the net and notched a win by six points.

Saugus again jumped out early in the second game, building a 6-1 cushion and cruising to a 25-16 victory when West Ranch’s Eddie Spurling couldn’t get a shot over the net for the final point of the frame.

“We knew how big it would be for us to win today, and we knew we had to come out with a really strong effort,” said Saugus senior captain Ryan Mason. “We had two major goals coming into the season, and by beating West Ranch we achieved one of those goals. Now it is up to us to win one more game and get in the playoffs to achieve the other goal.”

The Centurions controlled most of the third set also, leading by as many as seven points before closing West Ranch out 25-20 on a block from Mike Romero.

“I thought everybody stepped their game up today, and you could tell that we really wanted this,” Ambrose said. “Our freshmen and juniors have really stepped up all year, and to see them play today like they did is huge. Earlier in the year, teams were able to key in on our top guy (Kyle) Eaton, but now that we move the ball around more it has really opened the floor up for us.”

The loss snuffs out the Wildcats’ slim chances of making the playoffs, but Sparks knows his team still has a chance at history if they can beat first-place Valencia.

“I told my guys that beating Valencia would be bigger than making the playoffs because they are a team that hasn’t lost a league game in nearly a decade,” Sparks said. “To me that would be a lot more impressive than making the playoffs and going out in the first round because that win can be a memory that they will never forget.”

West Ranch was led by 13 kills from Zepp and 23 assists from Frankie Madero, while the Cents were paced by 14 kills from Sean Picard and 26 assists from Mason.

“Thursday is going to be the game of these guys’ lives,” Ambrose said. “There is going to be a lot of pressure, but I know that our team is ready for it, and even if it goes three sets, it will be three intense sets. I can’t wait for this. It’s going to be a good game.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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