By Victor Corral Martinez
Signal Staff Writer
The Saugus girls volleyball team finished its season in an intense match with El Camino Real in Thursday’s Division 3 CIF state playoff match, but came up short of the win.
The Centurions were coming off a sweep against Fallbrook in the first round, and the second-round match came down to the final set with both teams tied, but ultimately Saugus was short of the last set win (23-25, 26-24, 25-27, 25-15, 16-18).
According to head coach Zachary Ambrose, the team performed well, and nothing went wrong, but it was just a good team that won.
“They [El Camino Real] were super scrappy and they had a lot of long rallies. They just ended up edging it just a little bit better at the end,” Ambrose said.
El Camino quickly controlled the tempo of the game, which played a factor in the first set win against Saugus. Gabriella Cascione had many crucial saves that allowed the Centurions to keep the score close.
Rallying back from the first-set loss, Saugus made multiple saves and digs that allowed the Centurions to win the second set in a close nail-biter.
The third set saw Saugus find its rhythm and improve ball control, which saw the lead go back and forth. Taylor Treahy made a solid kill to keep Saugus in the lead.
The third set saw multiple long rallies, with both teams fighting for every point. Saugus was able to capitalize on the chaos from the rallies to tie the set after a sideout by El Camino. Ultimately, El Camino was able to win the set.
The fourth set saw another intense back-and-forth between the two teams, but Saugus managed to control the tempo and won the set with an ace by Cascione in a 10-point win.
Both teams had two sets and were tied, and another long rally ensued, with Saugus making a kill that tied both teams at 14 points in the final set. Morgan Guardado made a critical save, but the Centurions could not turn the save into a point.
In the end, El Camino was able to pull off a victory by two points.
The Centurions totaled 49 kills, 14 aces, 106 digs and 47 assists. Milani Lee had 46 assists, Naomi Greer logged 11 kills, Shelby Scott made10 kills and Cascione had 35 digs.
In reflecting on the season, Ambrose said the team far exceeded expectations, built chemistry quickly and did fantastic for a young team.
Ambrose spoke highly of his players but mentioned Cascione’s work on the court and said she did a “great job passing at a very high rating and served a lot of balls for us.”
After the loss, an emotional Cascione pointed out her tears were from happiness for the work the team accomplished and how far they went.
“I didn’t think that we’re gonna make it this far. I’m just so proud of everyone,” Cascione said.
Cascione said she will miss the seniors but looks forward to the team being a little older and experienced next season.