The season the Bonita Vista High School girls volleyball team had in 2011 comes once every decade or so. The Barons finished the season 29-7 to go with a runner-up plaque in the San Diego Section Division II finals.
It was the team’s highest place-finish since the legendary 2000 squad compiled an undefeated season to finish as state champions.
Though the team returns half a dozen key players off last year’s Mesa League championship squad, expectations are not to match what the 2011 team accomplished, according to head coach Woodie Taeatafa.
“This is our rebuilding year,” the BVHS coach said. “We’re set pretty good for the next two years. We have a good freshman class this year that is very athletic.”
As for 2011, the Barons should be right in the mix of a highly competitive race with chief challenger Eastlake for the league title.
Top returners include juniors Allie Loitz and Alyssa Cortez, both outside hitters-middle blockers, senior outside hitter-middle blocker Kelsey Ferko and junior setter Taimane Napoleon.
Loitz is 6-2 while Cortez is 6-1 and Ferko is 5-11.
“Our seniors were great leaders last year and our sophomores were very athletic and played a role in getting us there (to the CIF finals),” Taeatafa said. “I’m anxious to see what our girls can accomplish this year because I don’t see us as the favorite.”
The BVHS coach said he sees the more level playing field in league play as a good thing. “It’s great for the South Bay — we’re going to bring out the best in each other,” Taeatafa said.
Senior Hannah Flippen, a softball star on the school’s CIF championship team last spring, will add depth and experience to this year’s volleyball squad.
Makena Wilson, a sophomore outside hitter up from last year’s junior varsity team, is expected to make what the BVHS coach termed a “huge impact” in 2012.
Other key players this season include junior defensive specialist Megan Riley and junior middle-blocker Allie Gonzalez.
With the loss of three impact players to graduation — Jenelle Hudson (now at 10th-ranked Iowa State), Heather Gearhart and Meagan Wright — Taeatafa said the Barons will be more of a ball-control team this season.
“We’ll be digging balls a lot and running a multi-tempo offense,” he said.