Hosting the program’s inaugural girls volleyball game at Castaic High School, the Coyotes girls frosh/soph team welcomed Saugus onto its brand new campus on Tuesday.
It was the first game ever played in the Castaic High School gym.
Understandably, both teams showed some nerves out of the gate, but it was the Centurions that showed a little more poise to come away with a two-game sweep: 25-14, 25-19, of the Coyotes.
“I thought they did really well,” said Saugus coach Kaitlyn Reiner. “They took care of our side and focused on our team, so that was a really good job.”
Working with a group of raw but talented freshmen, Castaic’s first-year head coach Taylor Schubert wanted to get the girls acclimated to one another and their positions so they can move forward as a team.
“The goal was to get through it, knowing their rotations, which they did phenomenally,” Schubert said. “Just try to play volleyball, knowing how to pass, set and hit and getting into the right spots. All the stuff that I don’t want to teach anymore so I can actually start coaching volleyball is what I wanted to get through and I thought we did a lot of that today.”
Saugus jumped out to an 8-2 lead early after a barrage of serves by libero Katie Sutherland, who fired five consecutive aces for points forcing Castaic to call the first timeout of the match.
After play resumed, the Centurions’ Kate Nilsen picked up where Sutherland left off and hit three aces of her own to take a commanding 13-5 lead halfway throughout the first game.
“I focus a lot on passing and serving in practice because that’s what really wins volleyball games, so I was really proud of them,” Reiner said.
Castaic’s Peyton Williams answered with an ace and sparked a 7-1 run capped with a Dallas Potter ace to get within single digits, down 15-11.
Closing out the first game with an ace by Lily Merrick and Sutherland’s sixth ace of the game, Saugus won by double digits.
Picking up where they left off in the second game, Sutherland continued with her hot serving hitting 4-of-5 serves for aces to propel the Cents to a 7-2 lead.
Communicating more on both sides of the ball, Castaic rallied to get within four points after a Kennedy Lycklama ace, down 15-11.
“I have a couple girls that have played volleyball before and then there is about 95% of them that haven’t played volleyball, so it’s like getting those girls who maybe aren’t the most outgoing and be like, ‘You have to start talking, you have to do this,’” Schubert said. “And when they realize that role of them, then they were like okay.”
Down the stretch, Saugus’ servers were able to find open spots on the court to as Jocelyn Dalton, Sophia Sinagra and Sutherland each hit aces and allowed Saugus to pull away and earn its first win of the season.
“This is a really good group and they bond really well,” Reiner said. “I think moving forward they will only grow stronger as one team.”
Both teams are back in action on Thursday, as Saugus hosts Burbank at 4 p.m and Castaic hosts Golden Valley at 3:45.