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All-SCV Girls Volleyball: Jaclyn Clark, 2008-2011: ‘The Clark Years’

Outside hitter Jaclyn Clark brought Saugus back to the top of the Foothill League

Posted: January 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Jaclyn Clark was the focal point of the Centurions’ offense and defense this season, helping Saugus to a league title.

 

Someday, maybe five or 10 years from now, a conversation will take place in regards to girls volleyball in the Santa Clarita Valley.

It’ll go something like this:

“Hey, do you remember that Saugus team that won league and ended a decade-long drought?”

The response might be, “Oh yeah. That was the Jaclyn Clark team, right?”

Yes. That’s the one. That’s the name that will, in all likelihood, become synonymous with Saugus girls volleyball for years to come.

And that is why Clark is a no-brainer for The Signal’s All-Santa Clarita Valley Girls Volleyball Player of the Year.

The senior outside hitter has become a mainstay on the team since joining the varsity squad her freshman year. In her last year with the program, she didn’t disappoint.

She helped Saugus win the Foothill League with a perfect 10-0 record in 2011, giving the team its first league title since 2001.

The Centurions then advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Division IA quarterfinals, only to lose in a down-to-the-wire 3-2 heartbreaker to Vista Murrieta High.

It was the team’s first trip to a CIF quarterfinal since 2005, and would have been a first semifinal since 1993.
It’s not like Saugus, nor Clark, came out of nowhere though.

She was surrounded by a cast of experience and talent, which was key in disarming a Valencia team that had owned the Foothill League for the past nine years.

Clark was named All-SCV Player of the Year in 2010 as well, she was a First-Teamer in 2009 and an honorable mention as a freshman.

Before the start of Foothill play this year, all the league’s coaches were asked who they anticipated as the player of the year.

The majority picked Clark. Many of those same coaches admitted to drawing up game plans that focused on limiting Clark.

Yet amazingly, she still managed to score at an incredible rate, leading the league with 373 kills.

Oh yeah, and she plays defense too, as she also led the league with 323 digs.

She was deservingly the captain of the team and she took all the responsibility on with a steady dose of humility.

When asked about her team’s success or her own, Clark was quick to give credit to her teammates.

If asked to pose for a photo or issue a comment for the newspaper, no problem.

Clark’s talents stretch beyond the volleyball court, and that’s what will likely help her in future endeavors.

She’s professional, friendly, easy-going and at the same time, she’s as fierce a competitor as one can be.

Without a doubt, Clark has put a stamp on this program through the past four years.

She’d be the first to tell you that an individual accomplishment is not as important as a team accomplishment, and maybe she’s right.

But years from now, these past four years will be known as “The Clark Years” at Saugus High.

First Team
Sarah Blomgren • Saugus • Senior
Even opposing coaches made comments about Blomgren at times. When the University of South Carolina-bound senior got on a roll, she left teams nearly helpless in trying to stop her powerful and accurate attacks. She swung at the ball with a purpose and was equally capable of firing up her teammates and bleachers full of home fans. Even while playing alongside the top scorer in league in Jaclyn Clark, Blomgren still managed to tally the league’s second-best mark at 340 kills to go along with 218 digs and a team-high 57 aces.

Brittani Elser • Hart • Senior
Not only was Elser one of Hart’s strongest offensive weapons, she was certainly the most efficient. Her 167 kills came at a blazing hitting percentage of .466. She wasn’t a bad server either. With 64 aces this season, she broke the school record for single-season aces, besting Jamie Long’s mark of 52 set five years earlier. She also led Hart with 14 kills to help beat Valencia 3-2 on Nov. 1, giving the Indians their first win over the Vikings since 2006.

Ashley Guthrie • Saugus • Junior
As a member of the 2011 All-CIF-Southern Section Division IA team, Guthrie is the only Foothill Leaguer to be named All-CIF, and deservingly so. Some of Saugus’ top kills-getters owe a lot to an experienced and talented setter like Guthrie. The offense all started with Guthrie and her ability to read defenses and adjust her sets on the fly. She finished with 1,017 assists this season, which led the league by a wide margin, and also added 54 service aces.

Delaney Knudsen • Valencia • Junior
Limited experience as a sophomore last year paid off for Knudsen, who quickly became the team’s go-to hitter when injuries and off-the-court issues left Valencia shorthanded later in the season. Knudsen was a do-everything player, moving around at setter early in the season, only to collect 254 kills as a hitter, and she added 188 digs on the defensive end.

Angel Rutledge • West Ranch • Senior
It’s hard to make an argument that any middle blocker was better in the Foothill League than Rutledge. Her intelligent, consistent play along with her 6-foot-1-inch frame made her a force at the net and disrupted opposing teams’ offenses. Rutledge ended up with 37 blocks and 199 kills at an impressive .332 clip.

Sydney Striff • Valencia • Senior
Overcoming a sore ankle from an injury suffered a season ago and a position change, Striff performed day-in and day-out for the Vikings. As one of the team’s only seniors with a versatile skill set, Striff was moved from outside hitter to middle blocker this season. A team-leading 51 blocks and 188 kills would indicate she adjusted just fine.

Second Team
Hanna Acree • Golden Valley • Junior
Acting as a leader on a team full of returning players, Acree was an active and skilled libero who helped the Grizzlies win two Foothill League games for the first time in school history. The second-year varsity starter led the team with 292 kills and also tallied 18 service aces.

Sarah McGough • West Ranch • Junior
McGough represented West Ranch well this year. She was a tall, talented hitter who put the ball away regularly and accurately. At 206 kills, the junior was the only Wildcats player to pass the 200 kills mark for the season, and she did so at a .357 percentage.

Hannah Nua • Saugus • Junior
Midway through Foothill League season, Saugus needed a third scorer when middle blocker Ashley Pagan went down with an ankle injury. Nua immediately answered the call and became an important part of the team’s potent combination of outside hitters. The junior completed the year with 226 kills and 202 digs, which bodes well for her headed into her senior season.

Sierra Sanchez • Valencia • Junior
Despite dealing with injuries for parts of the season, Sanchez provided a needed boost for the team when she was on the court. She was a team player and a solid option at outside hitter or opposite, picking up 123 kills and 103 digs on the year.

Danielle Thompson • West Ranch •  Senior
It was obvious coming into the season that West Ranch was going to deal with growing pains, being one of the youngest teams in the Foothill League. Thompson was the exception for the Wildcats. The senior demonstrated her experience and played the libero position valiantly, collecting a league-second-best 307 digs, and she added 36 service aces to the arsenal.

Sam Wiese • Hart • Senior
The senior finished her high school career on a high note, stepping up as a regular starting middle blocker late in the season. In her last match for Hart, she was a force at the net, which heavily contributed to a dramatic 3-2 win over Valencia on Nov. 1. On the year, Wiese totalled 75 blocks and 127 kills this season.

Honorable Mentions
Heather Nony •  Canyon • Senior
Ashley Lorton •  Golden Valley • Senior
Amy King • Hart • Junior
Kristin McCord • Saugus • Senior
Christina Keoshian • SCCS • Junior
Julia Howell • Trinity • Junior
Hayley Knapp • Valencia • Junior
Alexis Clewis • West Ranch • Sophomore

2011 SCV Girls Volleyball Season in Review
• A 3-0 win over Golden Valley on Oct. 27 gave Saugus the outright Foothill League title this season. It was the team’s first since 2001, and it also ended a streak of nine straight years where Valencia held at least a share of the league crown.

• Hart senior Brittani Elser set the school record for service aces in a single season during a 3-1 loss to West Ranch on Oct. 25. She passed Jamie Long’s record on 52 during the match, and Elser extended her record to 64 aces by the end of the season.

• In a surprisingly lopsided matchup, Saugus defeated Valencia 3-0 by game scores of 25-13, 25-15 and 25-22 on Sept. 27 at Valencia High School in the Foothill League season opener for both teams. It was the first time the Centurions topped Valencia since Oct. 8, 2002, and it kick-started Saugus’ dethroning of the Vikings’ nine-year run at the top of the league.

2011 SCV Girls Volleyball Season in Review
Final records
Foothill teams

Saugus: 30-5 (10-0)
Valencia: 16-8 (7-3)
West Ranch: 12-17 (6-4)
Hart: 15-13 (5-5)
Golden Valley: 4-14 (2-8)
Canyon: 4-10 (0-10)
Private schools
SCCS: 6-11 (1-7)
Trinity: 19-6 (13-1)

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