For The Signal
Saugus hosted Hart on Thursday in the Foothill League opener and the Indians came out on the winning side, beating the Centurions 3-1 with game scores of 25-14, 20-25, 25-15, 25-23.
Hart senior Ruby Duncan had five aces and also led both teams in kills with 21. Sophomore Kylie Tengberg had seven kills, senior Grace Eck had 26 assists and senior Angelina Elsee had 34 digs.
Saugus senior Jackie Ibarra had 12 digs and was right behind Duncan in kills with 17. Junior Sharon Tomei had five kills, freshman Milani Lee had 25 assists and senior Carleigh Johnson had 11 digs.
Ibarra searched for holes in the Indians’ rotation throughout the night, taking advantage of openings when she could.
“I really tried to pay attention to (Hart’s) defense and where their block was and try and hit to the spot where they adjusted and think I would hit,” said Ibarra.
The players look at the completion of the first conference match differently as they go into the rest of conference play.
“It sets the tone because we came out really strong and aggressive and we weren’t passive when we had the passion and desire to win,” said Duncan. “It really showed that our team really can accomplish so much in this league and then at times we fell short or we let simple plays, we didn’t execute on them. So it’s just if we clean those up, we realized what we did wrong and what we need to fix in practice, to just execute and clean it up.”
“I think it gives more aggression to want to beat other teams and come out on top, be one of the top three teams because this is just the first game, there’s a lot more volleyball to play,” said Ibarra.
Irilian sees the win as a way to continue what has been working and improving upon what didn’t. Hart, which is the defending undefeated league champion, is searching for a little more consistency as the season goes on.
“It’s always good to have a win but we still need a lot of work. We just need to work a little bit more on consistency in the sense of being disciplined,” said Irilian. “When we ask the players to do something as coaches, we see it and they do it once but they don’t do it a second time, that’s when we lose some points. So we are trying to get them to do that on a consistent basis so that way we can score more points.”
Saugus head coach Zach Ambrose sees this loss in a positive light as it showed the potential that the team has to not only compete to their highest level but also that they can keep up with the best teams in the league.
“I think it proved that we can play with the top teams in the league and when we are doing what we need to do, we can play right with the league champs and the other top teams of the league.”
The Centurions will be in the Tustin Tournament in Santa Ana on Sept. 14 while the Indians will travel to Golden Valley High to take on the Grizzlies on Sept. 17 at 5:15 p.m.