Village News Reporter
Bonsall High School’s boys volleyball team began the 2023 season, and the program is history with eight losses. Southern California Yeshiva forfeited the Hawks’ Monday, April 10, league game at Bonsall, giving the Legionnaires their first-ever win. After nine additional on-court losses the Legionnaires hosted Gompers Prep Academy in a Thursday, April 20, match and obtained their first-ever on-court victory.
“I would have liked to have had more wins, but we competed at a level, we did better, we improved, we beat a team that beat us,” Bonsall coach Jesse Stock said.
Bonsall traveled to Gompers for a March 23 league match. The Eagles defeated Bonsall in 25-8, 25-12, and 25-18 sets.
“We came back and smoked them,” Stock said.
The win was followed by an April 25 league loss at High Tech High Mesa. Bonsall had a scheduled April 27 match at Southern California Yeshiva, but another Hawks forfeit finalized Bonsall’s overall record at 3-18 including 3-7 in Pioneer League play.
“We definitely improved in the way I wanted to,” Stock said. “The players were adapting.”
Bonsall’s first five league losses were all three-game matches. The April 18 home league match against Mountain Empire, which was Bonsall’s match prior to the win over Gompers, began with Bonsall winning the 28-26 first set. Although the Redhawks won the next three games to capture the match the scores were 25-17, 25-19 and 25-21.
“We had some very close games where we were on the verge of a win but fell short,” Stock said.
When Gompers traveled to Bonsall the Legionnaires were on the verge of a win and obtained that in all three games.
“They played hard and they learned that they had to give it their all and they couldn’t give up,” Stock said. “I know that I had to keep pushing them to compete at that level and not let their guard down, push it all the way through.”
Bonsall was missing two starters in the match against Gompers.
“I had to make some last-minute changes,” Stock said. “They adapted very well.”
In February 2022, Stock became a bus driver for the Bonsall Unified School District. He had previously driven a bus for the Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District and was a junior varsity volleyball coach for Valley Center High School. Stock informed Bonsall High School athletic director Andrea Breuninger of his coaching experience and expressed interest if Bonsall added boys volleyball. When enough Bonsall High School boys expressed interest for a volleyball team in 2023 Breuninger offered Stock the coaching job, and he accepted.
Most of the 13 boys on this year’s team are freshmen or sophomores, and only a couple had any previous organized volleyball experience.
“It was a great thing to watch all of them improve, grow, mature as young men, and come together as a team,” Stock said.
Athletics and bus transportation for students are both after school hours, and the school district worked with Stock to allow him to be Bonsall’s volleyball coach. He had no assistant coach, and sometimes his bus driving schedule conflicted with practice or other non-match team activities. Stock turned to the players to handle matters in his absence.
“There was some extra responsibility that I asked them to do, and they did it,” he said. “The kids were great kids. I couldn’t ask for better players.”
Although Stock is pleased with the players he had, he wouldn’t mind new players being added to the team in future years to complement his 2023 roster.
“Excited for next season,” Stock said. “They have a lot of potential.”
Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].