By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The second round of CIF girls’ volleyball officially concluded Saturday with Saugus and Santa Clarita Christian being the only two teams from Santa Clarita to advance. West Ranch, Hart and Trinity Classical Academy all had their seasons come to an end.
Here are the results from the past weekend’s matchups as the final two teams head into the third round of playoffs:
Saugus beats Newbury Park in three sets
The Saugus Centurions (20-5-2, 9-3) beat the Newbury Park Panthers (20-10, 7-4) in three sets (25-19, 25-19, 25-22) on Saturday. The Centurions have won both of their playoff rounds in three sets.
“I think right now the goal is to maintain the level of play we’ve had from the first two playoff games,” said Centurions head coach Zach Ambrose. “We are peaking at the right time. In CIF everyone plays their best, so now it’s about who is going to have a better night. I just want to have my players enjoy the moment moving forward. It’s not every day you get to play in the third round of playoffs.”
Naomi Greer led the team with 10 kills, followed by Milani Lee with six kills at a .455 kill rate, while also leading the team with 25 assists and sharing a team-high three blocks with Ruth Kempler. Morgan Guardado finished with six kills and a team-high 14 digs. Taylor Treahy also finished with six kills.
The Centurions’ next match is scheduled to be played against Serrano on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Saugus.
Santa Clarita Christian beats Western in three sets
The Santa Clarita Christian School Cardinals (29-0, 14-0) beat the Western Pioneers (14-6, 9-1) in three sets (25-8, 25-15, 25-8) on Saturday. Head coach Darcy Brown attributes their success to sticking with the basics, which has worked for them in their perfect season and still continuing to not lose a single set.
“We just have to keep playing like we know how to play,” said Brown. “We just need to keep running the offense we know and playing solid defense. I’ve been ultimately trying to get the team focused on each game that lies ahead. This all seems basic, but I feel like it’s so important to go back to the basics. It comes down to being consistent and that’s what we’ve done.”
The Cardinals still remain the No. 1-ranked team in Southern Section Division 8 as they look to keep their season perfect against Rancho Alamitos on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Santa Clarita Christian.
West Ranch loses to El Toro in three sets
The reigning Foothill League champion West Ranch Wildcats (19-5, 10-0) lost to the El Toro Chargers (15-7, 5-4) in three sets (13-25, 24-26, 18-25) on Saturday. Head coach Jamey Ker will lose nine seniors, but is happy to be able to keep some of his core players for next season, including his top two kills leaders and one of his starting setters.
“Ultimately, it is definitely disappointing to be knocked out in the second round,” said Ker. “We didn’t play great and the thing with CIF playoffs is everyone you play against will always come out with their best effort. My main comments to my team was that this was the perfect season except for how it ended. Going to Hawaii, winning a solo league title and being undefeated all added to this team having the best chemistry for a team I’ve ever been a part of. It was a really great season overall.”
Victoria Davis led the team with 19 kills at an .826 kill rate while also accounting for three blocks. McKenna Edwards led the team in assists (28) and blocks (5). Kaitlyn Jizmejian led the team with 22 digs.
Hart loses to Huntington Beach in three sets
The Hart Indians (15-7, 9-3) had their season come to an end with a three-set loss (13-25, 12-25, 22-25) to the Huntington Beach Oilers (26-5, 7-0) on Saturday.
The Indians held a share of second place in the Foothill League with Saugus, but had their playoff run cut short. The Indians will now look to rebuild as they look to grab the Foothill League title from West Ranch once again.
Trinity loses to Costa Mesa in three sets
The Trinity Classical Academy Knights (17-8, 11-3) lost to the Costa Mesa Mustangs (19-6, 8-2) on Saturday. The Knights, who are in the same league as the Cardinals, had their season come to an end, finishing in second place in their league.
The Knights will look to next year as a chance at redemption to stop the red-hot Cardinals.