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Foothill girls volleyball: Saugus’ D leads to O

Centurions defeat Hart behind defense and scoring runs

Posted: October 6, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 6, 2011 1:55 a.m.

The Saugus bench erupts as middle blocker Ashley Pagan celebrates a point against Hart on Wednesday at Saugus.

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When it wasn’t quite working offensively, Saugus girls volleyball had to lean on its defense.

Once the defense got going, there was no slowing the Centurions, who used multiple big rallies to beat Hart in three straight games on their way to a 3-1 Foothill League victory on Wednesday at Saugus High.

The 24-26, 25-12, 25-22, 25-14 win gives Saugus (19-2, 2-0) a perfect start to the league season.

“That’s where we live to score,” said Saugus head coach Zach Ambrose of the defense. “When we can dig and score in transition, that’s how we go on those rallies.”

Hart (6-9, 1-1) struck first in the match, winning the opening game using strong play by its middle blockers to keep Saugus’ defense out of sync.

A rash of hitting errors by Saugus didn’t help.

It wasn’t until part way through the second game that the Centurions put together their first rally, a 14-1 run that turned a 9-9 tie into a 23-10 Saugus advantage.

“We controlled the ball and we made smart decisions and we were playing together as a team,” said senior outside hitter Sarah Blomgren, who had a match-high 18 kills to go with 11 digs.

The third game played out similar to the first, with the Indians jumping out to an early lead and trying to stave off big scoring runs by Saugus.

This time, it was Hart’s own errors that made the difference down the stretch, failing to capitalize on a 13-7 lead.

Saugus middle blocker Ashley Pagan landed three kills for her team’s final four points to break up a 21-21 tie.

Pagan finished with seven kills and four blocks.

“You can’t blow it against a team that’s out to win league,” said Hart head coach Mary Keen.

Amy King was Hart’s best attacker on the outside, tallying seven kills, while Sam Wiese had five kills, two blocks and was a strong presence at the net throughout.

The rallying wasn’t finished for Saugus, which went in front 12-1 to start the fourth and clinching game.

As the match wore on, Saugus’ defense improved and the blockers seemed to anticipate Hart’s every move.

“Once you get us out of our system and we’re making hitting errors and they’re capitalizing on our mistakes, we have a hard time recovering from that,” Keen said.

Centurions setter Ashley Guthrie was the best defensive player of the match, totaling 14 digs and four blocks in addition to her 37 assists.

“We’ve always been a good offensive team, but now we’re starting to come around on defense,” Ambrose said.


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