On the volleyball scene, the boys team is in action for head coach Nikki Caufield’s team, which is coming off of a successful beach volleyball season that saw the Bucs win the Division II championship.
Last year, the boys restarted the indoor program at the high school and played as a Division IV team. In doing so, the Bucs were in a league comprised almost entirely of established Division II and III teams, coming close to making the playoffs.
So far this year, the Bucs’ garnered fifth place in the Lions Volleyball Classic silver division, notching a couple of upsets.
Just over a week ago, the Bucs played their first league game, sweeping Madison High 3-0.
Jesus Zarate led the team with 12 aces and six kills; Kieran Wills led the team with seven kills; and Jacob Cayetano paced the team with 22 assists and also was tops in digs.
"Last year with a brand new team, we had to basically start from scratch and the boys showed steady improvement over the season,” Caufield stated. “This year, we have six seniors on the team that also played beach volleyball and we have a solid core of boys with at least one year of experience.
“The boys have great attitudes and are working really hard at practices. Having made a good showing at our first tournament, and in winning our first league match, we are hopeful that we will continue to improve and work towards making the playoffs.
“We couldn't ask for a nicer group of boys to work with and will really miss our seniors next year. Boys volleyball at Mission Bay High School is like a family," Caufield said.
Girls beach volleyball
Meanwhile, the girls beach volleyball (2-0) team under head coach Brad Wills recently played Coronado, coming away with a clean sweep.
The Bucs are part of the Sand Volleyball Association and not yet a part of the CIF.
According to Wills, the plan is to make this sport CIF in the next couple of years, maybe as soon as next year.
This is the fifth season of high school beach volleyball, with a total of 36 teams in the league, a league that is broken up into four divisions. Mission Bay plays in the Central Division (seven teams total).
“Our goal is to win our division,” Wills commented. “On the team this year, we have two returning seniors and a group of solid freshmen and sophomores.”
Over on the baseball diamond, returning head coach Dennis Pugh noted that while it may take some time for the program to get its “mojo” back, the past success of Mission Bay is what the program is striving for.
According to Pugh, key players this season look to be pitcher/infielder Aiden Young (sophomore), shortstop/pitcher Joey Witkowski (senior), outfield/pitcher Parker St. Germain (junior), pitcher/first baseman Jaiden Correa (junior), pitcher/third baseman Dillon Kasper (senior) and infielder Zay Pena (sophomore), who Pugh tabbed the best new player to date.
Pugh has set goals of winning the City League and getting back to the CIFs, along with setting a new culture and attitude for the program.
The Bucs finished 11-16 a season ago, missing out on the CIF playoffs.
On the softball diamond, head coach Vince Ichihara’s team went 9-18 a season ago, yet made a run all the way to the CIF semifinals, coming up a game short of the championship.
Heading into this week’s play, the Bucs were 1-4 in the Gold Division 3 Tournament, having yet to play anyone within their division.
“Every game we have lost this year has come by two runs or less and we’ve had a chance to win each of these games,” Ichihara remarked. “Our last game we put it all together and beat Serra High School 11-0, led by freshman pitcher Cassidy West's 16 strikeouts.
Mission Bay also got timely hitting from Maya Cota and Cheyenne Chavez, a strong four-hit performance, with Paige Parkhill and Kiki Valverde-Flores cleaning up the bases with two RBIs each.
Serena Castro, who controlled the game behind the plate despite playing through an injured thumb, added a pair of hits and an RBI.
Editor’s note: More MBHS spring sports teams will be profiled in the April 6 issue.