North Bay Haven volleyball making up for lost time

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - In every sport, every team starts each individual session and season with a list of goals.

The Buccaneers are off to an undefeated through seven games.

The North Bay Haven volleyball team is no different in that regard.

"Before practices, we go through our goals," senior co-captain Kayla Harding explained. "If we reach them, then we mark it off and put a check mark by it."

Plenty of other things set this team apart.

Item number one on their checklist: be number one. They are already, actually.

For the first time in program history, the Buccaneers are ranked first in 4A according to MaxPreps, which uses a computerized formula to order teams in each class.

"We were just in class and my coach texted us saying we were first and we were so excited," senior co-captain Amaya Bazemore excitedly recalled.

While the players and coach admit to caring far more about being first at the end of the year in district one and perhaps even in the state, they're off to a great start, 7-0 overall with four wins in district.

"It's nice to get the recognition, the accolades, especially for the school," head coach Fred Corbin said. "North Bay Haven is a small school, so for them to kind of get a little notice on that end of it, the students are excited about it."

They're picking up right where they abruptly left off.

In October 2018, the best season in school history was cut short at 20-4 by Hurricane Michael.

For the upperclassmen in particular, the rest of the goals can best be summed up by making up for lost time.

"That definitely brought us all together because in the hard times, we had each other to lean back on," Bazemore added. "I was grateful for that."

"Five seniors, four juniors...their biggest improvement is the knowledge and the volleyball IQ," Corbin said. "I've told the girls and they understand. Stay humble, stay focused, and remember what we're here for: to ultimately win a district championship and hopefully go deep in the playoffs this year for the first time."

The Buccaneers play at Marianna (7-3) Monday night and visit Bay (4-1, 2-0) in a battle for first place in 4A-1 Tuesday.