Fri, Jan 11 2013 12:21 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
When a team is being beaten by a large margin on the playing court, sometimes it’s difficult for a coach to notice improvement.
But for Bonita Vista High School roller hockey coach Keith Quigley, he has seen improvement in his team this season.
“My players work hard and give their best,” said Quigley, whose team came out on the short end of a 15-0 score against the Otay Ranch Mustangs in their latest Mesa League game Tuesday at Castle Park High School.
Prior to that, the Barons were on the short end of an 18-0 score against the Hilltop Lancers on Jan. 3.
Despite the lopsided scores, it was evident that every Bonita Vista player had improved their skating skills since returning from the winter break.
Though a win wasn’t in the cards, effort definitely was.
That’s all a coach can ask for, regardless of the talent depth.
The Barons (1-4 overall) have been outscored 73-14 and dropped to 0-4 in Mesa League play following previous setbacks against Otay Ranch (19-2 on Dec. 2) and Eastlake (18-3 on Dec. 11).
Bonita Vista’s lone win of the season came via a 9-3 non-league decision against Mar Vista on Dec. 20.
Jonathan O’Brien scored all nine Baron goals in the game. In fact, O’Brien, the team’s top returner, has scored all 14 of Bonita Vista’s goals to date.
While O’Brien was not available for the most recent games against Hilltop and Otay Ranch, the rest of the Barons put up a valiant effort.
Quigley, who has coached Bonita Vista since its inaugural season in 1998, has always gotten the most out of his players, regardless of the overall depth in talent. The Barons captured the first two Kiwanis Cup tournament championships in 2001 and 2002.
However, Bonita Vista has not had a winning record for the past several years.
But Quigley’s same coaching philosophy continues to apply this season: He stresses the positive in everything.
And it’s rubbed off on his players.
When the pivotal goaltending position looked vacant this season, defender Miranda Peters did not hesitate to don the pads.
“The position needed to be filled and I volunteered,” she matter-of-factly said.
Obviously, unselfishness is another trademark of Quigley-coached teams.
Peters has excelled between the pipes, earning praise from nearly everyone who has watched her play. She made 32 saves in the 19-2 loss to Otay Ranch, wowing spectators with her quick side-to-side movements to cover each post.
She was a factor in the Barons’ lone win so far this season.
“Miranda played a standout game in goal — I’m not sure how many saves she had but it was definitely a lot,” Quigley said. “I was very impressed with her form, especially since she’s fairly new to the position. I see weekly improvement in her game.”
Peters wasn’t the only player to receive accolades following the victory against the Mariners. “It was a great win for the team,” the BVHS coach stressed. “I was very happy for them because they’ve been working hard.”
Bonita Vista finished 4-16 last season and isn’t favored to contend for this year’s league title. The Barons’ best competition looks to come in non-league match-ups against teams from the South Bay League, of which Mar Vista is a member.
Following O’Brien on the BVHS score sheet is Giancarlo Dongo with two assists and Leah Buchsbaum, Michelle Dunnells and Avori Schenk each with one assist.
Other players look to contribute in future games.
“Avori is one of my most dedicated players,” Quigley said. “She’s always ready to practice every day and work on her game.”
Dongo, the BVHS lacrosse goalkeeper, donned the goaltender pads for Tuesday’s game because of an illness to Peters.
“Giancarlo is another player with a really strong work ethic,” Quigley said. “I’m sure it comes from his lacrosse background. He’s one of the hardest working players I’ve had in the last few seasons.“
Quigley said about half of the players on the team’s roster are new to the sport. Hawk Anderson is among the Barons’ newcomers.
“I’d always liked watching hockey and being able to actually play it brought me in,” he said.
Being a novice, there were obvious challenges.
“Being able to go backward — that was a bit tricky at first,” he said, smiling.
He admitted he was obviously a little nervous during this first game.
“But when I finally managed to knock the puck off someone’s stick, it made me feel that I was in the game,” he said.
Quigley said he wished he had 10 more players like Anderson on the team.
“I love the commitment and hard work that Hawk displays,” Quigley said. “He’s new to the game of hockey but everybody could sure learn from his work ethic.”
The Barons started the season with eight girls rostered on the team — the most in the 18-team CIF-Metro Conference. Many play roller hockey as part of a cross-training regimen to complement girls field hockey in the fall and lacrosse in the spring.
Other players on the 2012-13 BVHS roller hockey roster include Carla Altomare, Sheina Dunnells, Belen Duran and Thomas Giltner.
“At this early point in the season, the team has lots to work on as far as becoming better skaters and better all-around hockey players, but what I really like about the group is their focus and positive attitude,” Quigley said.
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