There was no reprieve from the heat inside Saugus’ gym Tuesday night.
Industrial fans were humming at full speed and programs were fashioned to provide makeshift breezes to combat the muggy conditions.
The heat did little to impede Hart’s quest for a share of the Foothill League title, though, as the Indians swept Saugus (25-15, 25-15, 25-19) and were crowned co-league champions along with Valencia.
“That’s what we’ve been shooting for all year, to get our year on that wall,” said Ashley Cosey, who led Hart with seven kills. “We’ll be able to come back here and always be reminded of the season we had.”
One of Cosey’s kills sparked a 9-0 run in the first game which all but sealed the early victory. A kill from Grace Ferguson brought the Centurions to within seven but that’s as close as they would get before Shelby Grubbs finished the game off with a kill of her own.
Grubbs led the Indians with seven block and is four away from tying the school’s single-season record. Makenna Fall logged a team-high 21 digs and is one away from matching the school’s single-season record.
“That was probably our best all-around performance of the season,” said Hart coach Mary Irilian. “We didn’t have any big stat leaders and I think that speaks to the depth we showed tonight.
“To go out there and beat a team like Saugus in that way is never an easy thing.”
The second game followed a near identical script, with Grubbs again finishing out the set for a 25-15 win.
“They were extremely good defensively; picked up everything,” said Saugus coach Zachary Ambrose. “They were communicating very well, too, and what that happens, they’re going to be tough to beat.”
Hart was on its way to its most dominant win of the evening, jumping out to a 21-10 lead in the third game, before Saugus went on a 6-2 run to tighten things up.
Despite being swept for the first time in league play, Saugus remains in possession of the third and final Foothill League playoff spot.
“The playoffs are an entirely new season, so we’ll get to hit the reset button,” Ambrose said. “We’ve been solid the entire season. I’m looking at this as one isolated bad match.”
Both teams now await their playoff seeds as Hart went into the week receiving votes in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 poll with Saugus ranked No. 5 in Division 4.