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CIF volleyball: Cents a shred short

Saugus has a chance for a match point, but loses narrowly, 3-2, in CIF-SS Div

Posted: November 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 13, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

 

It was there for the taking.

The Saugus girls volleyball team held a one-point lead and had an opportunity for a single match point in the fifth and deciding game against Vista Murrietta High.

Just like that, fortunes swung the other direction, and Saugus lost 3-2 in a nail-biting CIF-Southern Section Division IA quarterfinal match on Saturday night at Vista Murrietta High School.

If the Centurions (32-6) could have capitalized and scored the final point, they would have become the first Foothill League girls volleyball team to reach a CIF semifinal since 1993 when Saugus reached a title match.

As it was, the loss by scores of 20-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-20, 16-14 ended an otherwise successful season for the Foothill champions.

"It’s unprecedented what we’ve done," said Saugus head coach Zach Ambrose. "We won 32 games, we went to the quarterfinals, went undefeated in league. This loss is not going to taint this season."

Playing in its first quarterfinal since 2001, the Centurions went ahead early by winning the first two games behind good serving.

Jaclyn Clark led Saugus with 18 kills and also added 15 digs. Fellow senior Sarah Blomgren added 13 kills and Hannah Nua had seven.

Vista Murrietta (31-7) had a response though, and her name was Alyse Whitaker, a 6-foot-2 middle blocker.

"We were playing good defense and they didn’t adjust to feeding their middle until late in the second game," Ambrose said.

After that, a relatively undersized Saugus team struggled to defend Whitaker’s strong attack from the middle.

"She must have had 30 kills," Ambrose said of Whitaker, who scored the final three points of the match for the Broncos.

Ashley Guthrie tallied 39 assists and 13 digs for the Centurions and Rachel Eaton had four blocks.

Seven seniors will graduate from a team that finished a perfect 10-0 in Foothill play to win the team’s first league crown since 2001.

In the long run, it may go down as one of the program’s best seasons on record. For now, it’s a tough one to swallow.

"The sting of this loss will wear off in a couple days and these girls will realize what they’ve accomplished," Ambrose said.

 

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