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Baron spikers looking to get back on top Phillip Brents | Fri, Sep 10 2010 03:38 AM

There was a time when Bonita Vista High School was the dominant force in Mesa League volleyball. From 1992 until 2007, the Barons basically owned the league by capturing 16 consecutive league titles. In 2000, the team enjoyed a magical season and a perfect 43-0 record. The Barons went on to win a San Diego Section championship and a state title as well as the No. 1 national ranking.

 The glory years came to a screeching halt in 2008. That team went 6-16 overall and surrendered the league title. Last year, former coach Woodie Taeatafa returned for what was a major rebuilding operation. The team was 13-16 overall, claimed third place in the Mesa League standings with a respectable 6-4 record and earned a playoff berth.

This year, Taeatafa believes he has a team that will challenge Eastlake for league supremacy.

The 2010 Barons are led by outside hitter and setter Jenelle Hudson, who led the team in kills a year ago by averaging five per game. Coming off an impressive season of club volleyball, Hudson is quicker and stronger than she was a year ago. She will be joined up front by freshman outside hitter and middle blocker Ali Loitz.

Loitz is one of four players on the roster who are at least six feet or taller. “She will surprise a lot of people,” Taeatafa said in regard to Loitz.

Senior middle blocker Jaleisha Freeman, a multi-sport athlete, will again lend her athleticism to the Baron forward line. Junior Megan Wright might be the most improved player on the team.

“Megan has made a huge breakthrough this season and is pretty much dominating in practice,” the BVHS coach said. “The light went on for her and she is really coming into her own. Megan will alternate between middle blocker and opposite.”

Senior Cari Hudson, Jenelle’s older sister, will do a lot of the setting this year. She has learned a lot tactically and is smoother than ever. Defensively, freshman Megan Riley and senior Rachel Lopez will share the libero position. They will be joined on defense by sophomore Hannah Flippen and freshman Taimane Napoleon.
 
Prior to the beginning of the league season the Barons will play a demanding schedule that includes highly ranked La Jolla Country Day School, La Costa Canyon and the teams participating in the Torrey Pines tournament.

Taeatafa is eager to see how his team stacks up against this elite competition. While he believes that next year will see the Barons dominate like they did in the past, he thinks they may be good enough to win this year’s league championship and advance a few rounds into the San Diego Section playoffs.

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