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Girls Volleyball | Golden League: Knight 3, Eastside 0

Honoring Bosque

Lions keep alive memory of beloved coach

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LANCASTER — The Eastside girls volleyball team capped an emotional Senior Night on Thursday with a tribute to their former coach.

The Lions honored their 10 seniors, as well as four Knight seniors and their former long-time coach, Kaiolani Francis Bosque, who died on March 24, prior to a Golden League loss in straight sets to the Hawks. 

“The seniors deserve a big party going out and the girls never did a goodbye for Bosque, because last year we couldn’t do it,” Eastside coach Steve Miller said. “I was very proud of them and just the excitement of them knowing they left everything on the court.

“It’s been a tough one and I miss him.”

Miller was Bosque’s assistant coach at Eastside, and for a total of 22 years, and his husband, as they were a couple for 25 years.

“It was hard,” Miller said. “We’d been coaching together for 22 years, in fact he decided down in L.A. that he needed a JV coach and he pulled me in. With that, we’d been together for 25 years.”

Bosque started coaching at Eastside in 2009 and and began coaching the boys in 2010.

The Eastside boys won the Golden League title back-to-back in 2013 and 2014. It was the first league title for Bosque as a coach.

Eastside assistant coach Jennifer Montalto read a poem in honor of Bosque during the tribute.

“This year, this team has been through a lot,” Miller told the crowd. “This year is a special year. Girls, I just want to say thank you.”

“Let’s play some volleyball,” Miller said at the conclusion of the tribute.

The Eastside players and coach Miller did a prematch dance, which culminated in a chant of “Bosque” when they finished.

“We’ve wanted to bring his shoes before, but it’s just a lot to handle,” Eastside senior Emily Story said. “Just keep remembering how it used to be with him and he’s not here anymore. It took a toll on the team a lot. We all talk about him a lot. We like talking about when we would do our Zumba at the beginning of our season and how he would laugh. We would just talk about the good memories with him and just remember how it was.

“Keep reminding everybody that even though he’s not here, he’s with us. We were just playing like he was.”

There was no girls volleyball season last year and the boys season was cut short in the spring.

“When COVID hit us, that was the last year of boys,” Miller said. “The boys had one game and then we decided to take the girls and practice with them. We went outside. They kept on telling us we had games, so we practiced outside through the winter. Spring Break we stopped and we were going to start up after Spring Break, so that’s when he passed. We had to explain that to all the girls that there’s not going to be a season, there’s no coach. That was the first tough part and then dealing with girls and players that haven’t played in almost two years.

“So my juniors the last time they played was freshman (year) and they stepped up and played the game. Understanding I had to teach one group and support the next group that were already varsity players.”

Knight capped its regular season by clinching second place in the Golden League with a straight set win over Eastside, 25-13, 25-19, 25-22.

“I feel like it was a great way to end off the season,” Knight senior Emily Ruvalcaba said. “I feel like there’s been a couple of rough patches, but I feel like today was really a chance for us to close it off in a good way and I really believe we did that.

“I feel like we’re all super ready for (playoffs). I think we’ve been working hard and practicing and I feel like all our hard work has truly paid off. I believe it will really show and all our strengths will shine in the playoffs.”

The CIF-Southern Section playoff brackets will be released on Saturday.

“We will be either playing on Tuesday or Thursday, depending on where they put us,” Knight coach Brandon Bell said. “A little bit rocky, since we lost a few players, but overall I think they’re going to step up and play the best game they can.”

The Hawks had one player dealing with a death in the family, while another player had to quit the team.

Knight and Eastside exchanged leads at the beginning of the first set before Knight took a 6-5 lead it would not relinquish. Knight junior Riley Asp had an ace on set point and a total of three in the set.

Although Knight opened the second set by taking a 3-0 lead, Eastside responded with a 7-0 run that started with a kill by senior Akaccia Wagnor to end a long rally between the two teams that featured three blocks by Story.

The Hawks rallied to take a 9-8 lead and Asp clinched set point with a kill. Knight had two key kills by Ruvalcaba and senior Oluwatoyin Sunday.

“I really appreciate everybody for recognizing all our seniors,” Ruvalcaba said. “It was kind of hard for a lot of us to miss out on our junior year, but I really believe this year was a great opportunity for us to all come together as seniors and just really celebrate it together.”

There were nine lead changes in the third set, with Knight taking the lead for good at 19-18, as Asp had an ace and Oluwatoyin Sunday had a kill down the stretch.

“Some of the players here I’ve been playing with since middle school, so we’ve been playing for a couple of years together,” Story said. “It did hit us that this was our last game together. It was really fun just all of us going out there really having fun. Everyone was really excited to play today.”

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