Spikers begin season with 7 wins
Ramona High School’s boys volleyball team began the 2010 season by winning seven consecutive matches, including a sweep of the Bulldogs’ pool in the Ryan Sherrow Invitational tournament in Tucson. Disciplinary action, however, resulted in a short-handed team losing its three second-day matches in the out-of-town tournament.
“Pretty good start for the year,” said Ramona coach Jeff Klauda.
Ramona’s season began with a home match March 9 against University City High School. The Bulldogs swept the match in 25-14, 25-20, and 25-22 games.
“We didn’t really play fantastic, but it was good enough,” Klauda said.
Ian Nowakowski led the Bulldogs with 12 kills while Garrett Adelman contributed 36 assists.
On March 10 the Bulldogs traveled to San Pasqual High School, where they swept the Golden Eagles in three games.
“We passed pretty well. We served very tough,” Klauda said.
The 25-13, 25-16, 25-16 match saw Nowakowski record 13 kills from his 24 swings and add three serving aces. Adelman had 23 assists.
“Overall it was just a solid effort,” Klauda said.
March 11 was a travel day, and the Bulldogs arrived in Tucson that night. The Ryan Sherrow Invitational consisted of best-of-three matches but with a cap of 27 points if neither team was ahead by 2 points after reaching 25 points. The tournament was hosted by Mountain View High School.
Mountain View was also the top seed in Ramona’s pool and was Ramona’s first opponent March 12. The Bulldogs won 25-18 and 27-26 games to take the match.
“We made quite a few serving errors against Mountain View, but we took some really great swings,” Klauda said.
Nowakowski had eight kills in 10 swings and had seven kills during the second game. Billy White had five kills in six swings against Mountain View.
Notre Dame of Scottsdale won its first game against Ramona by a 25-22 score before the Bulldogs came back with 25-17 and 15-9 victories. Nowakowski led Ramona with 13 kills during the match.
Nowakowski didn’t play the second game of Ramona’s 25-15, 26-24 win over Marana High School, in which Klauda began playing reserves during the first game. The Bulldogs took 12 healthy players to Tucson; since they have no backup setter Adelman played in all of the games although the other starters were either rested by the second game or played other positions.
Starting libero Brad Behnke played outside hitter during the second game while sophomore Caleb Nelson played libero.
The substitutes trailed 24-20 in the second game before a sideout which was followed by Nelson serving the Bulldogs to the final 5 points.
Klauda also gave his reserves significant experience during the 25-12, 25-16 win over Tucson High School and the 25-16, 25-17 victory against Amphi High School of Tucson. The Bulldogs earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs—but that was based on their roster as of the March 12 matches.
Prior to the tournament Klauda and assistant coach Connie Halfaker had reviewed travel restrictions and requirements with the players, but five Bulldogs did not comply during the night of March 12.
“They didn’t break any laws and no one was hurt,” Klauda said. “They broke team rules.”
Those five players did not play in the March 13 matches, leaving Ramona with only one bench player that day and forcing many players into positions where they were not experienced.
“It made it really hard for us,” Klauda said.
The 21-team tournament had one pool of six teams and three pools of five teams, so the Bulldogs were given an extra match, against Catalina Foothills High School of Tucson, while some teams made up byes with a final pool match March 13. Ramona won the first game by a 25-21 score before Foothills took 25-10 and 15-12 victories in the final two games.
Ramona’s first playoff match was a 25-21, 25-12 loss to Salpointe.
“They basically jump-served us off the court,” Klauda said. “The guys that were out there weren’t able to keep up with the pace.”
Ramona settled for a tie for seventh place in the tournament after a 27-26, 25-15 loss to Catalina High School of Tucson.
“They never quit trying. They kept playing,” Klauda said of his second-day players. “We did actually eliminate some of those mental mistakes.”
The results left Ramona with a 7-3 record for the Bulldogs’ first week of play.
“It was really promising,” Klauda said.
Ramona hosts Westview in a match today.
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