The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

Girls Volleyball Continues Their Golden Season

Photo by Brian Baldner
The girls volleyball team huddles up before their game. The team is 14-4 this season.

The start of a new season always brings challenges to players of any sport. However, the girls volleyball team has persevered and has started their new season strong. 

At the halfway point of the season, the girls are 14-4 as they approach the start of their league matches. They are also a top 20 team in San Diego, according to MaxPreps. 

Although school has only recently started, the team has been playing throughout the summer. In the middle of August, they started their season with a tournament in Las Vegas. Junior Paulina Baillie said the opportunity to bond as a team made it a special experience.

Emma Velchek (left) and Reilly Goueth (right) go up for a block. Goueth leads the team in blocks, and Velchek is third in the team. (Photo by Brian Baldner)

“We all drove up there together and also spending time in the house; it was a lot of fun,” Baillie said. “We all just got to bond, live with each other for a couple of days and taking that connection onto the court and implementing it into our gameplay.”

The Bobcats finished the tournament 5-2, which proved their commitment to the season ahead. At home, they have a 4-1 record, beating teams like Helix, Vista, Valley Center and Mission Vista, with only a loss to San Dieguito Academy. The Bobcats also went 5-1 at the annual Sweetwater tournament.

From the huddles to the practices, the team has an especially strong foundation in terms of team dynamic. Senior Emma Velchek says that these connections are what makes the team special.

“I think we’re all really great friends outside of volleyball, and when we get onto the court, we’re such great teammates to each other, and that’s really important in the foundation of the team,” Velchek says. 

This team also has its share of unique and notable players. Sophomore Juliette D’Eliseo has the highest kill percentage in California, and Senior Reilly Gourth has the most blocks in San Diego, according to MaxPreps. 

Baillie is a standout libero, earning praise from many coaches. Recently, she was put on the Prep Dig 2025 Watch List, which college coaches use to find the top recruits in the country. She says that she is thankful for all of the recognition.

“It feels really good, especially because liberos are really hard positions to get noticed for, and I feel like they’re a little bit underrated,” Baillie said. “They’re the backbone of the team, but obviously you’re going to want to look at the bigger hitters. You put in the work – obviously you’re never going to expect to get praise, but it’s a really good feeling when you get it.”

Paulina Baillie goes up for a set. Baillie leads the team in assists. (Photo by Brian Baldner)

Despite being a top libero, Baillie is moving from her usual position to be the team’s lead setter for the season. Baillie says that switching positions came down to helping the team in the best way possible.

“I really just thought that that’s what the team needed,” Baillie said. “And so I told [Coach] Amanda this, I said, ‘Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do it. Just give me a little bit of a heads up,’ and she said, ‘I need you to set.’ So I knew what I had to do for the team, and so I took that role and just kind of went with it.”

The team has impressed so far. However, their biggest challenge awaits them as they are on the verge of starting their league matches. They are in the Coastal League – one of the most challenging in the county. 

The league includes two top 10 teams in Torrey Pines and La Costa Canyon as well as Canyon Crest Academy and rival Carlsbad. Sage Creek has not won their league since they won the Avocado East League in 2019. For Velchek, the big threats are a challenge, but they believe they have what it takes to win. 

“Torrey Pines and LCC are definitely two of the bigger schools in our league,” said Velchek. “They have a lot of really great girls on those teams. Those athletes are so committed to playing volleyball. They have been for years. A lot of them are even D-1 commits. Like, they’re really good teams, but I think we could beat them.”

Senior Haley Penfield believes that they are already on the right track to win the league.

“I think we need to continue to build our connection, which is already pretty strong, and also just fight for everything, aim for the win, and just keep going for it.”

You will not want to miss the rest of this season. The team will host their first league match of the season at home against San Marcos tonight at 6:00, followed by their second league match at home vs Torrey Pines on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

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