Valencia volleyball stays fresh for win over Saugus

Saugus players Caitlin Liebe (97) and Chloe Nale (44) along with Valencia player Kaelyn White (21) reach for the ball during a game at Saugus High School on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal
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The night after Valencia volleyball took down West Ranch in four games, the Vikings took care of the Centurions in four at Saugus.

Neither physical nor mental fatigue seemed to be an issue for the Vikes (6-2 overall, 3-1 in Foothill League), who won the first two games 25-22 and 25-16.

The Centurions surged in the third game, however, winning 25-21. It was a two-point game until an Alyssa Grodell block pulled Valencia ahead 14-11.

Saugus (9-3, 3-1) slowly crept back into the lead and took the victory when a Vikings hit landed out of bounds.

“That’s really sort of the Achilles heel of this team,” said Valencia coach Ray Sanchez. “We do really well, we play well and then we just kind of lose focus and we kind of make one mental mistake and it kind of snowballs and we have a hard time kind of pulling out of that.”

Jumping out to an 8-4 lead, the Cents had the momentum at the start of Game 4. Calculated serves by Saugus kept the Vikings on their toes, just like in the previous game.

MORE: Prep volleyball roundup: Valencia beats West Ranch in battle of defending co-league champs

“It kept them out of system and they had to hit a higher ball off the bat, (which) allowed us to play better defense,” said Cents coach Zach Ambrose.

Jessica Throckmorton’s kill gave Valencia an 11-10 lead, then Lo Russ tipped the ball into Saugus territory for good measure.

The Vikings countered the Centurions defensively, something the team has been working to improve on throughout the year.

“There were some scrappy plays there, there were some kind of hustle plays and so it’s starting to come around,” Sanchez said.

Saugus finished third in league last season and was swept by Valencia twice. This year, the Cents could be in the Foothill League title conversation.

“I think they’re definitely better all-around and they definitely gave us a run for our money for passing for sure,” said Russ. “I thought they did a really good job giving us tough serves, but I think we battled back pretty well.”

Caitlin Liebe had 31 kills and 10 digs on the night for Saugus. Gabby Schiesser had 44 assists and 11 digs and Holly Piroli added 11 digs.

Valencia’s Russ had 15 kills and 19 digs, while Lauryn Shockley added 11 kills and 23 digs. Kaelyn White had 45 assists.

Valencia heads to Phoenix, Arizona this weekend for a tournament before playing at Golden Valley on Oct. 5. Saugus will play at Hart on the same day.

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