Thanks to a strong finish to the regular season, the Mission Bay girls beach volleyball team strengthened their argument to make the postseason as their aspirations to be crowned champions remain alive.
The team, made up of 23 players, finished 3-4 overall leaving them at the cusp of making the playoffs after two important victories to end the regular season.
“This year, we are carrying more girls than ever before,” said head coach Brittany Johnson. “The lineup changes weekly based on numerous factors.”
The team has had many standout performances and Johnson points to the top four players, seniors Grace Berryhill and Emily Hernandez, along with sisters Justyne Higman and Jayden Higman, who will be attending USC next year.
After starting out with back-to-back losses to Coronado and University City, the team got its first win of the season on March 17 in dramatic fashion 3-2 over Clairemont. They would take a step back in the following two matches against La Jolla and Cathedral Catholic but would find a way to bounce back once again defeating Academy of Our Lady Peace on April 13, and Scripps Ranch on April 14 for their third win of the regular season.
“The season has gone as well as could be expected,” Johnson added. “Due to the lapse of the pandemic years and the new CIF status, the structuring of the league put us at a disadvantage. Last season was a miniature pandemic but we performed well.”
Johnson has been the head coach since the inception of the beach volleyball league in 2014, but the sport has been part of her life and passion since the age of 16. Growing up in Houston, Johnson and her best friend Laura Strunk made it a point to participate in as many junior tournaments in Galveston, Texas as possible.
“I knew I wanted to end up in San Diego, where I could play daily,” Johnson said. “After graduate school at University of Texas at Austin, I made the move in 2010 and never looked back.”
The Bucs will find out if they will be taking part in postseason play on April 25, with CIF playoffs going from April 28 to May 7 and finals being held at San Diego Mesa College.