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Legionnaires reach CIF boys volleyball semifinals

The first-ever CIF playoffs for Bonsall High School’s boys volleyball team lasted until the Division V-AA semifinals.

The Legionnaires were seeded third among Division V-AA teams and had a first-round bye. Bonsall’s first-ever playoff match was a 25-15, 25-21, 9-25 and 29-27 victory over San Diego Academy. Victory Christian, which was seeded second, won a 25-10, 25-9, 25-27 and 25-11 semifinal match against the Legionnaires.

“It was just an exciting opportunity. We were proud to make history for Bonsall,” Bonsall coach Jesse Stock said.

Bonsall first fielded a boys volleyball team last year, and the Legionnaires were 3-18 in 2023 matches. This year the team finished the regular season with a 17-14 record and the Legionnaires were 11-3 in Pioneer League matches, placing third in the standings behind two teams with 12-2 league records.

San Diego Academy had the sixth seed in the Division V-AA playoffs and West Shores was the 11th seed, so those two teams faced each other in a first-round playoff match Wednesday, May 1, with the winner earning the right to travel to Bonsall for the quarterfinal. San Diego Academy won in 25-11, 25-11 and 25-16 sets.

Because San Diego Academy is a Seventh-Day Adventist school the Cavaliers do not participate in athletic competition between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday. The quarterfinal match Saturday, May 4, on the campus shared by Bonsall High School and Sullivan Middle School originally had a 5 p.m. starting time, but when San Diego Academy advanced the starting time was changed to 8 p.m.

“We had to scramble for a ref,” Stock said.

Other logistics were also handled.

“We did get it together,” Stock said.

Since the match lasted four games it consumed approximately an hour and a half and was complete about 9:30 p.m., so the most significant impact was to the visitors who had to make the trip back to National City.

“It’s pretty much a normal game,” Stock said.

Sunset in Bonsall occurred at 7:34 p.m. May 4, so the Cavaliers had limited practice prior to the match.

“We beat up on them pretty bad the first two games,” Stock said.

San Diego Academy avoided a sweep with the game three victory.

“They blew us out pretty good,” Stock said. “The fourth game was back and forth. There were several times where we’d get kind of down a little bit.”

During that fourth set the Cavaliers had a 24-18 lead and thus game point.

“We came all the way back,” Stock said. “They couldn’t close it,”

A game must be won by at least two points.

“We made a huge comeback,” Stock said. “We didn’t quit.”

During the match, senior Nate Winebrenner and junior Sebastian Garcia each had 10 kills while junior Brody Crosswhite provided eight kills. Winebrenner had four serving aces with sophomores John Leung and Kevin Reyes each obtaining two aces. Winebrenner also recorded two blocks as did sophomore Anthony Sierra, and sophomore Andy Morales was credited with six digs.

“They worked hard,” Stock said.

The result gave the Legionnaires a victory in their first-ever playoff match.

“We came together and had a team that would win,” Stock said. “They were a team that came together and didn’t quit. They were down, they’d come back, and they’d win.”

The Pioneer League and the Patriot League are both in the Frontier Conference. High Tech High Mesa, which was in the Division IV playoffs, won the Patriot League championship with a 10-0 record in league play. Two of those wins were against Victory Christian, but the Knights won their other eight league matches to take second place.

Victory Christian followed a first-round bye with a three-game win over seventh-seeded Mountain Empire and followed the semifinal home victory against Bonsall with a three-game victory in the final with Escondido Adventist to win the CIF championship. Bonsall was thus the only team to win a game against Victory Christian in the playoffs.

“In my mind we were second-best even though we lost the semifinals,” Stock said.

The playoffs finalized Bonsall’s 2024 overall record at 18-15.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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