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Prep volleyball: Cents find pace

After slow start, Centurions regroup and rally past Notre Dame

Posted: September 22, 2010 9:41 p.m.
Updated: September 23, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Saugus’ Ashley Pagan, back left, and Sarah Blomgren, back right, block a shot by Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks’ Kinnan Callan on Wednesday at Saugus High. The Centurions won 3-2.

It may have taken five sets, but the Saugus girls volleyball team got it done against Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks on Wednesday night at Saugus High School.

The Centurions' 3-2 victory featured a back-and-forth match all the way through, with nearly every game coming down to the last couple of points.

Saugus dropped two of the first three games, but found a way to fight back and win with scores of 15-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 15-11.

"We did not practice well this week, and we were just at a slow pace," said Centurions head coach Zach Ambrose. "It took three games for us to catch up to their speed."

Wednesday's match marked the first time Saugus (8-2) played since Sept. 16. Up until then, the Centurions had played nine matches in a span of seven days.

"Our team has our ups and downs of course, but we actually came together and played better," said outside hitter Jaclyn Clark of the comeback.

In the second game, Saugus came out firing and took a 3-0 lead helped by two kills from Clark, who finished the match with 18.

But strong serving helped Notre Dame build a 13-8 lead in the game.

When Saugus hitters struggled to get the ball over the Knights' tall block, the Centurions got creative with more finesse attacks.

Rather than going for power, the two junior hitters, Sarah Blomgren and Clark, found spots to place the ball past Notre Dame's defense.

The plan worked, as the Centurions chipped away at the deficit and squeaked out the win the second game.

Blomgren slammed the game-winning score, which was one of her team-leading 20 kills on the day.

In the third, it was Notre Dame's blockers that did Saugus in. The Knights led the entire game, starting with a 5-0 run that included multiple team blocks.

By the fourth game, the Centurions began to get into a flow offensively, helped by good passing from sophomore setter Ashley Guthrie. She tallied 46 total assists.

At one point in the game, Saugus servers had three aces in four attempts, which gave the team a 12-11 lead at the time.

In the final game, Saugus used its defense and kept composure to complete the five-game win. Clark had two of her four total aces in the game and when senior Cory Nua's attack successfully landed, the comeback was complete.

"They do this all the time," Ambrose said of his team handling the pressure situation. "Even last year as sophomores, they didn't let adversity keep them down.




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