By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
The Centurions girls volleyball team’s (9-0, 1-0) hot start carried into their league play as Saugus swept the visiting Wildcats (2-2, 1-1) on Thursday.
Saugus won with scores of: 25-17, 25-23 and 25-13.
The red-hot Centurions are on a regular season win streak of 13 games dating back to last season, in which they have dropped one set. West Ranch was Saugus’ last regular-season loss last season when the Wildcats went undefeated in league.
Saugus was led by opposite hitter Taylor Treahy, who hit a game-high 18 kills on Thursday.
The game looked like it didn’t have a chance at being a sweep early as both teams went on run after run but couldn’t put their opponents away. The Centurions didn’t take their first lead until going up 10-9.
Saugus heated up late in the set and started to pull away thanks to back-to-back kills from middle blocker Shelby Scott. The Centurions were on fire and a kill from Leila Ballard would end the set.
Saugus took control early in the second set, which would turn into the battle of opposites.
Treahy went on her own 4-0 run, slamming down four straight kills for the Centurions. The senior finished the set with seven of her 18 kills.
“[Treahy] stepped up,” said Centurion head coach Zach Ambrose. “She’s always like this but I think the spotlight was on her and she rose to the occasion. She took it on and ran with it.”
On the other side, West Ranch opposite Kennedy Osunsanmi started rolling in her first game of the season and registered five of her 11 kills on the day.
The Wildcats started crawling back into the game thanks to Osunsami and freshman setter Dani Clewis. The freshman’s dump during the run was the first West Ranch kill by a player not named Osunsanmi.
Clewis played well and ended her night with 15 assists and three kills.
Saugus worked its lead back up to 23-17 but the Wildcats held on. Clewis served well on the line and gave her team a chance to steal the second set. West Ranch worked a 6-1 run and was just one point away from forcing the set into extra points before Clewis served out after several great serves.
The Wildcats were right there for a good portion of both the opening sets but suddenly found themselves in an 0-2 hole.
The Centurions knew West Ranch wouldn’t just roll over and proceeded to play their strongest set yet. The team defended against Osunsanmi with both their passing and blocking as well as still containing strong hitting from Baylor-commit Tori Davis, outsides Jadyn Tunnell and Bridget Conley. The three combined for just four kills.
Ballard kept the Wildcat passers guessing and tallied a pair of aces in the third set. The team was led by libero Gabriella Cascione, who had eight aces on the night.
Treahy caught fire again in the third set but with match point at hand, Lee sent the ball to Ballard to finish it again. The outside promptly ended the game with three kills, two of which were for set point.
“We didn’t control nearly as well as we needed to,” said West Ranch head coach Jamey Ker. “Our front attack couldn’t be as dominant because we couldn’t control the ball as well as we needed to.”
West Ranch was swept in a league game for the first time in three years while Saugus is looking wildly strong as they’ve only played three close sets all year.
“The way our team bonds is definitely a big [reason for success],” said Saugus setter Milani Lee. “We all get along so well and love each other on and off the court. It’s the biggest contributor I’d say.”
The Long Beach State commit finished her big night with 25 assists.
Saugus will work to stay hot and consistent in the Pacifica G.G. Tournament over the weekend while the Wildcats will look to get back on track with a tourney game with Oaks Christian.
“We have really good chemistry,” said Treahy. “It’s super fun being together on the court. It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, being together is awesome.”
Ker now has his team at full strength with Osunsanmi back and will look to get her acclimated more with Clewis. The head coach is also creating high-pressure practices so the team feels at ease during tense games. Clewis made the team well before knowing she’d become the starting setter but Ker told her from the beginning to act like she belongs on varsity and to not act like a freshman.
West Ranch will remain on the road next week when they head to Valencia on Wednesday. Saugus will also hit the road for a matchup at Hart. Both Foothill League matchups are set for 5:30 p.m.