Prep volleyball roundup: Saugus maintains perfect league record with win over Valencia

Saugus' Jackie Ibarra and Brianna Plunk go up for the block against Valencia's Macy Kirkwood. Saugus defeated Valencia 3-1 at Valencia High School. Carroll Nash/For The Signal

Saugus volleyball continued its Foothill League conquest on Thursday night, beating Valencia 3-1 at Valencia to maintain a perfect 4-0 league record.

“Everybody working together, everybody doing their job, shaking off mistakes,” said Jackie Ibarra of how the Centurions reached this point. “Focusing on what you have to do, keeping your serve in, keeping the pass off, working the ball in, staying calm.”

The Vikings started the first game with a healthy 7-3 lead and hung on to the advantage until a hit went wide, making it 17-16 in Saugus’ favor. Abby Wilson followed with a kill and Ibarra executed an ace to give the Cents some breathing room as they went on to win the game 25-20.

Saugus got on the board first in the second game, but an ace from Brooklyn Otton pulled the Vikes ahead. Soon after, however, the Cents went on an eight-point scoring run and never looked back, sealing the game at 25-18 with a kill from Kayla Tait.

Tait was the main offensive force for Saugus (14-5 overall, 4-0 in Foothill League), targeting any open corner she could no matter where she was on the court.

“When she was front row, we definitely committed our block to make sure that we were always on her so that she can’t get a hit without a block so it’s harder for her,” said the Vikes’ Aly Grodell.

Valencia (3-11, 1-3) looked revamped in the third game, never trailing once. Abby Sherman served up an ace to set up the set point, which Kendall Thompson captured on a kill.

“And the energy kept building as we went forward, because we took energy from the last games and used it,” Grodell said. “And when there’s energy there’s fight. And so we played harder.”

The two teams went point-for-point in the fourth set up until the very end. Three consecutive blocks put the Cents up 21-19 and moments later, Ibarra crushed a kill that gave Saugus a 26-24 win.

“I was so nervous, but it was amazing,” Ibarra said. “Just the feeling of joy, we were so close.”

Saugus next plays at Buena on Monday at 6:30, while Valencia has nearly a week off before heading to the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Arizona on Sept. 21.

Hart 3, West Ranch 0

The Indians swept the Wildcats at home on Thursday with game scores of 25-22, 25-17 and 25-16.

Zoe DiNardo led with 15 kills and Kylie Mattson had 26 assists and four blocks for Hart. Megan Soto logged 10 kills as the Indians improve to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in league play.

Hart plays Saugus on Sept. 20 and West Ranch (1-9, 1-3) will play in the Royal Tournament on Saturday.

Golden Valley 3, Canyon 1

Game scores were 25-18, 22-25, 25-14 and 25-22. The Grizzlies are now 8-5 overall and 1-2 in league play as they next take on Highland tonight.

The Cowboys (10-8, 1-3) resume league play on Monday against West Ranch.

SCCS 3, Palmdale Aerospace Academy 0

The Cardinals won on the road with game scores of 25-14, 25-21 and 25-21. They’ll next compete in the Cal City Tournament against Arvin tonight.

Faith Baptist 3, Trinity 2

The Knights lost with game scores of 25-22, 29-25, 21-25, 25-20 and 10-15. Hannah Caddow led the team with 17 kills, nine digs and five blocks. Nicole Amoroso had 34 assists, six kills and six digs, while Heidi Schafer chipped in 18 digs and Ellie Howell had seven kills and two blocks.

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