Saugus girls benefit from Guthrie move
Eight more matches, eight more wins. That’s a week’s worth of work for the Saugus girls’ volleyball team, which extended its winning streak to 13 this week. After losing a close match to Buena of Ventura in the season opener, Centurions coach Zach Ambrose made a position change. The second-year Saugus coach took Amanda Guthrie from the right side of the court to the middle. “This group is very confident in its abilities and trusts each other,” Ambrose said. “They know they’re here to play together.” Saugus’ latest win came Wednesday against Louisville of Woodland Hills. The Centurions cruised through three games for the 25-18, 25-15, 25-8 victory. “Our big test is next Saturday,” Ambrose said of a Sept. 30 Royal tournament that will feature some of the area’s best teams. “I will get to gauge where we are in CIF. In league, we’re up there. The only way we’ll know is when we play Valencia on Oct. 4.” It’s been a different season for Valencia. The Vikings (2-6) lost five consecutive matches, including four in the Edison tournament last weekend and one against Buena. Ray Sanchez’s team snapped the losing streak Thursday night with a 25-16, 25-21, 23-25, 23-25, 16-14 win against Oxnard. The win may have served as a confidence booster for a young Valencia team. “We’re not a bad team,” Sanchez said. “We’ve played very good teams. Not to dismiss what Saugus has done, but I’m not sure they’ve played that many tough teams like we’ve had.” The Vikings lost close matches to a solid Santa Barbara team and to Westlake, ranked No. 5 in the area by the Daily News. “It’s true,” Ambrose said of the potential soft schedule. “But out of our 13 games, in five of them we faced good, upper-level teams.” Saugus will be tested when it hosts Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks on Thursday. But Sanchez remains confident his team can still be a power in the Foothill League. “Hart and Saugus think they have a chance,” Sanchez said. “I agree with that. They’re good teams. “We have a big bull’s-eye in the back of our heads. We knew they were coming after us.” [email protected] (818) 713-3607160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John Phillips“That’s where she started as a sophomore last year,” Ambrose said. “I decided to change the lineup, and it’s worked since.” The move seems to have paid off for the Centurions (13-1). The 5-foot-10 senior played a key role in their winning seven straight matches to take the Mayfair/St. Joseph 28-team tournament title last week. Guthrie also earned all-tournament honors after Saugus won five straight matches to take the Los Osos tournament. Those were two tournament first-place trophies in as many weeks for Ambrose’s girls.