Saugus Centurions girls’ volleyball had an unforgettable 2022 season.
The Centurions won the Foothill League for the first time in 11 years, brought home a CIF title with four straight sweeps and ended their season in the State Regional Semifinals. Saugus played in 38 matches and dropped only 11 sets.
The team’s accomplishments warranted recognition from all over the Santa Clarita Valley: Saugus was honored at City Hall as well as at a William S. Hart Union High School District board meeting.
Santa Clarita Mayor Jason Gibbs spoke on the team, highlighting the fantastic season before awarding the Centurions a city certificate.
“The city is extremely proud of this team and everyone involved with Saugus High School girls’ volleyball,” Gibbs said.
The players were welcomed and cheered by the audience, and not just from those wearing silver and blue.
“The City Hall meeting surprised the girls,” said Saugus coach Zach Ambrose. “They’ve never been to a City Hall meeting. Everyone in the audience isn’t there for us, they’re there for City Hall and it’s a different group getting to see our accomplishments.”
For Ambrose, the Hart district board meeting was more personal. Ambrose has worked with members of the board for several years as a coach and an educator.
“I know a lot more about the school board than they do,” Ambrose said. “Some of those people I’ve been working with for several years. So, to me it was extra special to be honored by those on the board because I’ve known them in those capacities.”
The Centurions’ roster is filled with college-bound volleyball athletes. However, according to Ambrose, the team truly shines in the classroom. The coach has been busy in the offseason filling out letters of recommendation to universities all over the country, including some Ivy League schools.
“A lot of the seniors were good volleyball players but they were amazing students,” Ambrose said. “I’m filling out college recommendation letters, and that’s fun for me getting to talk about these players to these colleges.”
The team will soon graduate Milani Lee, Naomi Greer, Shelby Scott, Ottavia DeGrandis, Morgan Yoder, Jocelyn Dalton, Emily Nigra, Riley Weeks, Presely Golphenee and Sami Stadtlander.
Lee will continue her playing career at Long Beach, and Greer will likely play at College of the Canyons while Scott is still fielding offers.
Ambrose will lose 10 seniors but the future remains bright with two All-CIF stars in Taylor Treahy and Gabriella Cascione returning. Saugus’ outsides are also solidified with the big swings of Morgan Guardado and Leila Ballard returning for two more seasons.
The head coach believes this was the most talented team he has ever coached. Ambrose knows none of the accolades and achievements would’ve been possible without every member of the team.
“None of the accomplishments come without the whole team,” Ambrose said. “I think that all the girls had a part to play in our girls receiving those awards throughout the postseason.”