The Bucs, under head coach Steve Upp, ended the regular season with a 20-11 record. Mission Bay secured the 16th seed in the CIF Division II playoffs. In its first-round match, Mission Bay lost in three sets to top-seeded Sage Creek.
The loss ended the career of Bethany Kepner, who has been the anchor of this year’s team and a huge contributor to some of the best teams ever at Mission Bay during her four seasons starting on them, according to Upp.
“Looking forward to seeing who steps up next year as the team has many talented players returning along with a promising group of freshmen and sophomores from this year’s junior varsity,” Upp commented.
Despite the loss of Kepner, the Bucs have much to look forward to in the coming years.
Boys beach volleyball
Under head coach Nikki Caufield, the Bucs finished tied for second place in league with a 3-2 record and made the Division I playoffs. The Bucs faced off against Canyon Crest Academy in the first round of playoffs and narrowly lost 3-2 with the pairs of Ian Briski/Dusty Schroeder and Cody Armstrong/Ryan Derry winning their matches.
In just the fourth year of the program, the Bucs had their most successful league season.
According to Caufield, notable season highlights include the pair of Zander Caufield/Andy Knight winning the Coronado Open Tournament and Briski/Schroeder placing second in the CBVA tournament. Both teams also qualified for the silver bracket division for the high school varsity championships.
With Zander Caufield the only senior among the top five varsity teams at the end of the season, the Bucs look to return nearly all of their top players for next year. Additionally, with a number of very strong junior varsity players that made it into the top seven-eight teams this year, the Bucs have the potential to have a very strong team for next year.
Coach Caufield said of this year's team: "We had our largest squad ever and with us hoping to build sand courts on campus by next year, we are really excited about the future of the program. We are hoping to get enough fundraising to get the courts built.”
Given the success and growth of the program the last few years, the Bucs continue to serve up progress.
Boys water polo
The Bucs came into the week with a record of 12-10. Unfortunately, they were unable to qualify for CIFs. Placing 13th in Division II, head coach Lyndsay Sutterley noted it was a close race for qualifications to CIFs.
According to Sutterley, some key members of the team over the last week or two included goalie Whitney Snead (more than 120 blocks this season) and attacker Kyle Baker.
“It has been a competitive season for us,” Sutterley said. “Over half of our games this season were one- or two-goal games. Sometimes this was in our favor, sometimes not. However, close games continue to help develop our athletes’ characters and perseverance. We’ve shown vast improvement from the beginning of our season and are looking forward to next year.”
Mission Bay came into the week with an overall mark of 3-12 (2-10 in league action). The Bucs did not qualify for team CIFs.
According to head coach Trong Tong, some of the key players have included Amanda Edmunds, Rosina Valia and Ryan Stone.
“Given that three quarters of our team are newcomers this season, a majority of which were beginners, we competed admirably throughout the season with teams that are quite frankly ‘out of our league’” Tong commented. “However, it's been tough to build on any momentum as we had to constantly shuffle our lineups due to the numerous illnesses and injuries.
“Amanda and Rosina managed to grab a seed in doubles for our league finals tournament this week, while Ryan also got seeded in the singles. With tremendous focus and a little luck in the coming days, hopefully we can get a couple of our players into Individual CIF next week.”
The Bucs, under head coach Kris Auer, entered the week with a record of 6-9. Unfortunately, Mission Bay will miss CIFs this season.
Auer noted the play of juniors Danya Padilla (for her defensive work) and Amanda Witkowski (for her evolution as an attacking player).
“While we endured a five-game losing streak, the girls never quit on each other or their season,” Auer stated. “As a result, the senior night on Oct. 24 resulted in a 1-0 home victory against Point Loma.
“The underclassmen showed tremendous love for their seniors on their last home game and senior captain Clara Sandoval slotted the game’s only goal to make for a magical moment in this trying season.”