Bulldog spikers earn CIF playoff match

At the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) San Diego Section’s Nov. 8 playoff selection and seeding meeting for girls volleyball teams, Ramona High School was given the seventh seed in the Division II playoffs.

“That’s a pretty good seed for us,” said Coach Connie Halfaker.  “That’s not bad at all.”

The seventh seed earned the Bulldogs a home playoff match last night against Helix for the right to advance to tomorrow’s semifinals.  (This issue of the Ramona Sentinel went to press before last night’s matches. A Ramona win combined with a win by second-seeded Mount Carmel over Southwest would give the Bulldogs a match at Mount Carmel, while an upset by 15th-seeded Southwest would give the Bulldogs another home match.)

“They are recognizing the potential we have as a team,” Halfaker said of the selection of Ramona as the seventh seed.  “Maybe our wins and losses don’t show it, but we played all of our opponents really tough.”

All seven Valley League teams were selected for the Division II or Division III playoffs.  

“That’s pretty good to have your entire league be in playoffs,” said Halfaker, adding that more than half of those teams were among the top eight seeds in their division.

Ramona finished fourth in the Valley League standings with a 5-7 record in conference play. The Bulldogs concluded the regular season with a 10-18 overall record not including four wins and five losses in the Palm Desert Tournament, whose matches were not regulation-length matches and do not count in Ramona’s overall record.

“I like where we are.  Everybody’s healthy.  Everybody’s just raring to go,” Halfaker said.  “We’re right where we need to be.”

Westview, which was seeded sixth in Division II, beat the Bulldogs in four games Nov. 4 at Westview.  

“It was terrible,” Halfaker said.  “We were never in a rhythm.”

The Wolverines won the first two games by 25-17 and 25-22 scores, and after Ramona avoided a sweep with a 25-20 victory the fourth game saw Westview prevail by a 25-9 margin.

“Our serve-receive was just not at all sharp.  We were spraying balls all over the place,” Halfaker said.  “We ran into each other a lot; we let balls drop.”

Cassie Miller played against Westview despite being ill.  

“She was not very functional on defense,” Halfaker said.

Halfaker and Assistant Coach Jeff Klauda agreed that the best solution was an off-beat practice the following day.  

“We decided to try to handle it with a little bit of humor,” Halfaker said.

That strategy was successful, as the Bulldogs closed their regular season with a five-game win over Oceanside at home Nov. 6.  

“Came out real strong, played well.  It was a very good match,” Halfaker said.  “We really were pretty much in control the whole time.”

The Bulldogs won the first two games by 25-17 and 25-23 margins.  Oceanside earned a 25-21 win in the third game and a 25-23 victory in game four.

The Pirates had a larger cushion in the fourth game before Ramona regained its focus.  

“We fought our way back,” Halfaker said.

Ramona narrowed the margin to 24-23 and had the serve.  

“Just didn’t finish that play,” Halfaker said.

The loss didn’t stop Ramona from a 15-5 triumph in the fifth and deciding game.  

“We had regained our rhythm.  We had regained our focus.  And there was absolutely no stopping our team in game five,” Halfaker said.

The Nov. 6 match was also Senior Night, and before the contest the Bulldogs honored seniors Shelby Bush, Cassie Miller, and Makenzie Taylor.  

“They were all very strong contributors, leaders as well,” Halfaker said.

Taylor played on the right side of the back row.  

“She did a good job covering that position,” Halfaker said.

Miller led the team with 12 kills followed by Bush with 10.

Bush’s seven blocks led the Bulldogs, while Miller and Bush each had four aces.

   
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