Saugus girls volleyball swept the Fallbrook warriors in the CIF Division 3 State Girls playoff matchup Tuesday, winning all three sets and advancing to face the El Camino Real Royals on Thursday.
In the three sets, the Centurions compiled 38 kills, 88 attacks, 11 aces, 34 assists and 61 digs, helping to put them ahead of the Warriors (25-9, 25-18, 25-16) on Tuesday night.
In the first set, the Centurions took an early lead, and the Warriors responded aggressively but fell short against the many aces from Saugus. At Saugus’ set point, Fallbrook attempted a block but failed and allowed the Centurions to win the first set by 16 points.
Head coach Zachary Ambrose said the team focused on serving, hitting their zones, keeping teams out of the system. When the team can do that, they play effectively, he said.
“Today, we were pretty good at making sure that they were… setting high balls outside, which is exactly what we were trying to do,” Ambrose said.
In the second set, the Centurions again took the lead and led 7-3. Fallbrook attempted a shift in their play and tried to shank the ball, but a quick-thinking Gabriella Cascione was able to deny Fallbrook the point.
“The girls are really scrappy,” Ambrose said. “They don’t let a lot of things fall and that gives the hitters confidence to know they can get blocked, and someone will be there to help pick it up.”
Midway into the set, Fallbrook rallied from a 6-point deficit, closing the gap with Saugus to a score of 19-15. Ruth Kempler and Taylor Treahy produced back-to-back kills, effectively stopping any potential comeback by Fallbrook.
At set point for the Centurions, Kempler made a kill and secured the set with a lead of 7 points.
In the third and final set of the game, Fallbrook took an early 2-point lead with Naomi Greer, Shelby Scott, Kempler and Treahy responding with multiple kills to create separation and win the match.
The team doesn’t focus on the score but focuses on playing well, and if the team is doing everything they need to do, it should end up in a win, according to Ambrose.
Ambrose noted the performance by Treahy, who had a high hit percentage on the right side and came up with three crucial blocks.
“She had some momentum-changing swings on the right side that really gave us a boost,” Ambrose said. “I think we’re just ready to go keep going to state.”
Treahy said that, during practice, they trained off the court as well and studied film to prepare for the match. Even with all the preparation, the team’s win comes from the contribution of all teammates, she said, thanking her parents and teammates for supporting and encouraging her to do the best she could.
“Everyone really contributes a lot. You can’t do anything without teamwork and I think that we worked really hard this season to get where we are,” Treahy said.