Weston Crowe’s starter replacement to depend on volleyball opponents

By Joe Naiman

Ramona High School’s volleyball program knew that it would lose three senior starters from the 2011 team. The cancer diagnosis of 2012 senior Weston Crowe places more focus on his recovery than on the absence of an expected starter, but it created a hole for the team to fill.

Crowe, a defensive specialist and a backup outside hitter in 2011, was expected to be a starting outside hitter this season. His activity before the Bulldogs’ first game consisted of visiting the team during the second day of practice.

“He seems to have maintained such a positive attitude,” said Coach Jeff Klauda.

Klauda noted that Crowe is still on the team, even if he will be unable to play, and he will be allowed to sit on the bench when he attends a Bulldogs match.

Josh Spieker, a junior, will be one of Ramona’s outside hitters.

“Josh has come so far from last year,” Klauda said. “Josh is looking like he’s going to have a pretty big impact.”

The other starting outside hitter, which likely would have been Crowe, will be determined based on the style of Ramona’s opponent. Seniors Caleb Nelson and Luke Papps, junior Josh Plunkett, and sophomore Cody Kealy will be candidates to start in any given game.

Nelson was Ramona’s libero in 2011.

“He’s been taking some really good swings from the outside,” Klauda said.

Nelson, who is 5 feet 9 inches tall, will likely be Ramona’s starting libero if he is not playing outside hitter.

Papps did not play volleyball as a freshman, was on Ramona’s junior varsity team as a sophomore, was cut as a junior due to the presence of more skilled outside hitters, and will make his varsity debut as a senior. Papps is 5 feet 10 inches tall.

“He jumps pretty well,” Klauda said.

Kealy, who spent 2011 on Ramona’s junior varsity team, is 6 feet 2 inches tall.

“He’s really good with jump serves,” Klauda said.

This is also Plunkett’s first year on the varsity.

“He moves the ball around really well,” Klauda said.

If Nelson is the starting outside hitter, Kealy or senior Jake Hitt will likely be the libero. Hitt was a defensive specialist on the 2011 varsity.

“He’s quick,” Klauda said. “Defensively he’d be a good libero.”

Travis May was a starting middle blocker on the 2011 varsity, but at 5 feet 11 inches tall, he will be the starting opposite hitter in 2012. May set as a freshman and sophomore and will also be the backup setter.

“A lot of the offense is going to go through Travis,” Klauda said.

The Lawler brothers, both 6 feet 6 inches tall, will be this year’s starting middle blockers. Kenny Lawler is a senior and Matt Lawler is a sophomore.

Klauda noted that Kenny Lawler showed significant improvement toward the end of the 2011 season.

“It seemed like he turned the corner,” Klauda said. “I think he’s going to have a huge breakout year.”

Matt Lawler saw some varsity action at the end of the 2011 season.

“He jumps pretty well,” Klauda said. “He’s our best player at the second middle blocker spot.”

Klauda may pull up a middle blocker from the junior varsity team during the season, and senior Johnny Schirer will also likely see action as a middle blocker. Schirer did not play volleyball during his first three high school years.

“He’s picking up things pretty well,” Klauda said.

Ramona’s starting setter for the fourth consecutive year will be Garrett Adelman, who will be the team captain for the third straight season.

“Without a doubt he’s probably one of the top three setters in the county,” Klauda said.

The Bulldogs had multi-team scrimmages Feb. 29 at Scripps Ranch and March 2 at La Jolla. Ramona’s first home match will take place March 14 against Montgomery.

Last year, Ramona’s 17-15 overall record included CIF Division III playoff matches, which concluded with a loss to La Jolla in the semifinals. This year the Bulldogs will be in Division II for playoff purposes.

Ramona had a 3-7 record in Palomar League play in 2011.

“I think we’ll be able to improve on that this year,” Klauda said.

Related posts:

  1. Vikings’ comeback ends Ramona’s volleyball season
  2. Coach Connie Halfaker sees a unified volleyball team
  3. Three earn all-league volleyball honors
  4. Four Bulldog spikers earn all-league
  5. RHS sweeps Aztecs to start volleyball playoffs

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Posted by Karen Brainard on Mar 8 2012. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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