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Bonita Vista volleyball team has great expectations John Philip Wyllie | Fri, Sep 23 2011 12:56 AM

Sharing is caring — but don’t tell that to the Bonita Vista High School girls volleyball team. Last season the Barons went 9-1 in Mesa League play, but had to settle for a co-championship with arch rival Eastlake.

This year, the tall and talented Barons do not plan on sharing the league banner with anyone. Having already played and defeated many of the top teams in the county, veteran coach Woodie Taeatafa believes a Division II CIF banner is within reach.

“At the Fall Classic tournament we shocked so many teams,” Taeatafa said. “We defeated Mt. Carmel, Poway, La Jolla Country Day, West Hills and Poway (which went on to beat perennial powerhouse La Costa Canyon). These are all very good teams.”

The Barons are led by 2010 Mesa League Player of the Year and team co-captain Janelle Hudson. Coming from a volleyball family, Hudson has a deep understanding of the game and displays excellent skills as both a setter and an outside hitter.

Hudson shares the team leadership with senior Heather Gearhart. Gearhart also sets and plays outside hitter. She is currently leading the team in digs with an average of nearly five per game.

Upfront, six-foot-two sophomore Allie Loitz is a force at middle blocker and at opposite. Loitz is second on the team in kills behind Hudson and leads Bonita Vista in blocks. Like Hudson, six-footer Meagan Wright is a returning All-Mesa League star. Wright excelled across the front line last season and hopes to pick up in 2011 where she left off.  

Loitz and Wright aren’t the only two Barons who use their height to great advantage. The Barons have sophomore middle blockers Andrea Ortiz (6-3) and Alyssa Cortez (6-0). Cortez plays opposite as well.

Junior front line player Kelsey Ferko and sophomore Allie Gonzalez are just a shade under six feet tall. Senior Ashley McIlwain, at 5-9, would be considered tall on many teams, but she and the five-foot-eight Hudson are the shortest front line players on the Barons roster.

Bonita Vista offers a solid back row with players such as sophomore Megan Riley, the aforementioned Gearhart, junior Hannah Flippen and Taimane Napoleon. 

With lots of strengths and very few weaknesses, this Bonita Vista team has the talent to take it a long way. Whether this team can come close to duplicating the feats of the magical 2000 undefeated Bonita Vista state championship team remains to be seen. At the very least, they should be interesting to watch.

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