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Saugus volleyball ends Valencia's 112 match Foothill winning streak

Posted: March 21, 2013 8:09 p.m.
Updated: March 21, 2013 8:09 p.m.

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The tension in the gym rose with each passing point, as the Saugus Centurions closed in on breaking the longest California streak of its kind ever.

The Valencia Vikings weren’t going to go down easily, rallying off three straight points to tie the game with Saugus sitting on match point.

But the small hiccup wasn’t enough to end the inevitable, as Saugus defeated Valencia 3-1 to end the Vikings’ 112-game Foothill League winning streak on Thursday night at Valencia High School.

The Centurions won by scores of 25-23, 23-25, 27-25 and 26-24.

“We really wanted to end that streak so badly,” said Saugus outside hitter Tony Balzer. “We’ve just been dreaming of this since we first started, and I’m glad we were first to do it. Not West Ranch, not Hart, but Saugus in their home.”

The Centurions (8-3 overall, 1-0 Foothill League), leading 2-1 in games entering the fourth, opened things up with a 6-0 run midway through the game.

That stretch took the game from a 10-10 tie to a 16-10 Saugus advantage.

The Vikings (0-6, 0-1) battled back, though, tying the match at 24 after staving off three Saugus opportunities to end the match.

“They made it difficult, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Balzer said. “I knew we had to come out strong.”

But Saugus settled down from there, scoring the final two points on kills by Zech Lee as the Saugus bench flooded the court in celebration.

Grant Spooner led the Centurions with 39 assists and Max Nua added 10 kills.

The loss was Valencia’s first league setback since April 3, 2001, when the Vikings fell 3-2 to Canyon.

During that stretch, the Vikings won 12 league titles, four CIF titles and a national championship in 2008. The Vikings also own the California state record for consecutive league wins.

“You look back, it’s special,” said Valencia head coach Kevin Kornegay. “No one in 12 years was able to rise up until today.”

The Vikings did their best to keep the streak alive, never trailing in a 25-23 game two victory that knotted the match at one apiece.

Sophomore outside hitter Kyle Ensing was vital for the Vikings on the day, leading with 19 kills.

Setter Logan Riley led Valencia with 41 assists, while Chance Stevens added 10 kills and Kyle Grant had eight.

The Vikings fell behind in the third game, trailing by as many as five midway through before rallying to tie the game at 19-19.

But errors did them in, as Valencia was called in the net nine times in the match.

“I knew Saugus was solid,” Kornegay said. “I had seen them play. They’re too good of a team to make that many errors.”

When the match was over, Valencia’s players exited quickly into the locker room, clearly upset at the end of the school’s historic streak.

But Kornegay sees a positive hidden in the result.

“They can play more relaxed,” he said. “I’m sure they were tight. They’re a young team trying to come together.”

For Saugus, the win was validation to what it already knew about itself.

The Centurions were chosen by the league’s coaches earlier this week to finish fourth in the final Foothill League standings, something Saugus head coach Barry Nua says the team used as motivation.

“I told the kids I think that’s totally wrong and they’re using that as fuel,” he said. “We have (Balzer) and (Nua), and the supporting cast is incredible.”

 

 

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